Volume. 11971

Iranian company, Metropolitan Museum publish rare copy of Shahnameh
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A copy of “The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp”
A copy of “The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp”
TEHRAN -- “The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp”, a rare copy of the epic masterpiece of Ferdowsi, the Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), has recently been published by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Vijeh Nashr Company, an Iranian publisher that imports English and Arabic books published by foreign publishers.
Vijeh Nashr has released copies of the book, which previously had been published by Yale University Press, at the 25th Tehran International Book Fair in May 2012.
“The (Yale) edition was warmly received and all copies were sold out at the exhibition,” Vijeh Nashr Managing Director Ahad Rezaii told the Persian service of IRNA on Saturday.
“Therefore, our company and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have prepared a new edition with some additional materials,” he added.
The company plans to offer copies on “The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp” at the 27th Tehran International Book Fair, which will be held from April 30 to May 10.
“The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp”, also known as the Shahnama-ye Shahi, is one of four historical copies of Ferdowsi’s epic masterpiece.
The edition was commissioned by the Safavid king Shah Tahmasb in the early 17th century.
An Islamic art expert at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Francesca Leoni, wrote that the book “is arguably the most luxuriously illustrated copy of Ferdowsi’s epic ever produced in the history of Persian painting.” 
“Its pages, with generous measurements for an illustrated book (approximately 48x32 cm), are made of fine paper enriched with large gold-embellished borders and lavish illuminations. Accompanying the 759 folios of text, written in superb nastaliq script, are 258 paintings of exquisite quality and artistic originality.
“Not long after its completion, the manuscript left Iran and was sent as a gift on the occasion of the accession of the Ottoman sultan Selim II (r. 1566–74)… Until the early twentieth century, the manuscript remained in the library of the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, where it continued to entertain generations of rulers… Today the manuscript is dispersed among private and public collections. The Metropolitan Museum has seventy-eight of the pages with paintings in its collection.”

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