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This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English.

Name of Object:

First Small Shahnama


Dublin, Ireland

Holding Museum:

The Chester Beatty Library

About The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Date of Object:

Hegira c. 700 / AD 1300

Museum Inventory Number:

CBL Per 104

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Coloured pigments and gold on paper


19 x 13.2 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Iran or Iraq


The poet Firdausi completed the writing of his Shahnama (‘Book of Kings’) in AD 1010. It is considered the national epic of Iran and in some sixty-thousand verses relates the tales of the heroes and kings of Iran, from the dawn of time until the Islamic conquest of the country in the mid seventh century. These folios belong to one of three manuscripts known collectively as the Small Shahnamas. None are dated, but they are generally thought to have been produced in about AD 1300, making them the earliest illustrated Shahnama manuscripts in existence. (Three thirteenth-century, unillustrated Shahnamas also exist.) There are, however, earlier objects (mainly ceramics) decorated with scenes from the various stories that make up the Shahnama.

Citation of this web page:

 "First Small Shahnama" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;ir;Mus21;18;en

MWNF Working Number: IR 18


 Artistic Introduction

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Manuscripts


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