image preview


Language: Persian

Date: circa late 19th century

UK Special Collections Arabic Script Codex #11

Shahnameh is an epic poem that conveys the history of pre-Islamic Persia. The work is comprised of 62 stories told through nearly 50,000 rhyming couplets. The work’s main sections depict the mythical, heroic, and historic ages of the era, and its author, Hakim Abul-Qasim Firdawsi Tusi (widely known as Ferdowsi) completed these sections over a period of 33 years. Ferdowsi’s epic poem, completed in 1010 AD, was commissioned by the Samanid dynasty and is widely regarded as a seminal work of Persian literature, folklore, and cultural identity.

This 29-cm manuscript is bound in brown leather and features several color miniatures depicting scenes from battles as well as life at court.

Curation Date


Photo Source

Special Collections Research Center, University of Kentucky Libraries


Middle East, Calligraphic manuscripts, Shahnameh


Image Location