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Walters Ms. W.597, Abridgment of the Book of kings (Shahnama)

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Abridgment of the Book of kings (Shahnama)

Text title
Tārīkh-i dilgushā-yi Shamshīrkhānī

Vernacular: تاريخ دلكشاى شمشيرخانى


As-written name: Tavakkul Bīk (Beg) valad Tūlak Bīk (Beg) Ḥusaynī

Name, in vernacular: توكل بيک ولد تولك بيک حسينى

Note: Author's name given on fol. 2a, line 2


This is an illuminated and illustrated copy of an abridgment of Firdawsī's Shāhnāmah (Book of kings) entitled Tārīkh-i dilgushā-yi Shamshīrkhānī. It was composed in prose by Tavakkul Beg Ḥusaynī (fl. eleventh century AH / seventeenth CE) for Shamshīr Khān of Ghaznīn (Ghaznī or Ghaznah in present-day Afghanistan). Completed in the thirteenth century AH / nineteenth CE in India, possibly Lahore, the text is written in nastaʿlīq script and illustrated by thirty-three paintings.


13th century AH / 19th CE


Northwest India





Literary -- Prose


The primary language in this manuscript is Persian.

Support material


Laid paper


Foliation: 176+i

First folio mounted on green cloth


Catchwords: Written obliquely on versos


20.5 cm wide by 33.0 cm high

Written surface

15.0 cm wide by 28.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 17

fols. 1b - 176b:
  1. Title: Tārīkh-i dilgushā-yi Shamshīrkhānī
  2. Author: Tavakkul Bīk (Beg) valad Tūlak Bīk (Beg) Ḥusaynī
  3. Incipit: حمد بيغايت وثناى بى نهايت...
  4. Hand note: Written in nastaʿlīq script in black and red ink
  5. Decoration note: Thirty-three illustrations; incipit page


Upper board outside:

  1. W.597, Upper board outside
  2. Title: Binding
  3. Form: Binding
  4. Label: This lacquer binding, decorated with floral motifs, a bird, and inscriptions around the outer frame, dates to the thirteenth century AH / nineteenth CE.

fol. 1b:

  1. W.597, fol. 1b
  2. Title: Incipit page with illuminated headpiece
  3. Form: Incipit
  4. Label: This incipit page with illuminated headpiece is inscribed with the doxological formula (basmalah) in the central cartouche.

fol. 6b:

  1. W.597, fol. 6b
  2. Title: Zaḥḥāk after Satan kissed his shoulder and two snakes arose
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 12b:

  1. W.597, fol. 12b
  2. Title: Jamshīd halved before Zaḥḥāk
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 22b:

  1. W.597, fol. 22b
  2. Title: Tūr kills his brother Īraj
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Label: The subject of this scene, described in red nastaʿlīq script, is the killing of the legendary favorite son Īraj by his brother Tūr.

fol. 30b:

  1. W.597, fol. 30b
  2. Title: Rustam kills the inhabitants of the fortress on the mountain Sipandān
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 42b:

  1. W.597, fol. 42b
  2. Title: Rakhsh, Rustam’s horse, kills a lion (the first feat)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 43b:

  1. W.597, fol. 43b
  2. Title: Rustam kills a dragon (the second feat)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 44b:

  1. W.597, fol. 44b
  2. Title: Rustam kills the witch who came to deceive him (the third feat)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 45b:

  1. W.597, fol. 45b
  2. Title: Rustam fights Avlād (the fourth feat)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 46b:

  1. W.597, fol. 46b
  2. Title: Avlād leads Rustam to Māzandarān (the fifth feat)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 47b:

  1. W.597, fol. 47b
  2. Title: Rustam cuts off the head of Arzhang Dīv (the sixth feat)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 48b:

  1. W.597, fol. 48b
  2. Title: Rustam kills the White Dīv (the seventh feat)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 62b:

  1. W.597, fol. 62b
  2. Title: Rustam stabs his son Suhrāb
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 67a:

  1. W.597, fol. 67a
  2. Title: Sūrdābah kisses Siyāvush
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 74b:

  1. W.597, fol. 74b
  2. Title: The execution of Siyāvush
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 80b:

  1. W.597, fol. 80b
  2. Title: Gīv captures Pīrān
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 89b:

  1. W.597, fol. 89b
  2. Title: Persians fighting Turanians
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 96b:

  1. W.597, fol. 96b
  2. Title: Rustam brings the body of the demon Akvān before Kay Khusraw
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 105b:

  1. W.597, fol. 105b
  2. Title: Rustam fights his grandson Barzū
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 112a:

  1. W.597, fol. 112a
  2. Title: Barzū receives permission from Kay Khusraw to fight Afrāsiyāb
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 120b:

  1. W.597, fol. 120b
  2. Title: Luhrāsp enthroned
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 129b:

  1. W.597, fol. 129b
  2. Title: Isfandiyār chained on the order of Gushtāsp
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 134a:

  1. W.597, fol. 134a
  2. Title: Isfandiyār and his brother Bishūtan kill two wolves (the first exploit)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 134b:

  1. W.597, fol. 134b
  2. Title: Isfandiyār kills a lion (the second exploit)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 135b:

  1. W.597, fol. 135b
  2. Title: Isfandiyār kills a dragon (the third exploit)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 136b:

  1. W.597, fol. 136b
  2. Title: Isfandiyār kills the witch (the fourth exploit)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 137b:

  1. W.597, fol. 137b
  2. Title: Isfandiyār kills the sīmurgh (the fifth exploit)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 138b:

  1. W.597, fol. 138b
  2. Title: Isfandiyār prays to stop a blizzard (the sixth exploit)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 140a:

  1. W.597, fol. 140a
  2. Title: Isfandiyār kills Gurgsār (the seventh exploit)
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 142b:

  1. W.597, fol. 142b
  2. Title: Isfandiyār kills Arjāsp
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 154b:

  1. W.597, fol. 154b
  2. Title: Rustam kills Shaghād
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 157a:

  1. W.597, fol. 157a
  2. Title: Rustam shoots Isfandiyār
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 165b:

  1. W.597, fol. 165b
  2. Title: Alexander the Great mourns the dying Darius
  3. Form: Illustration

fol. 169b:

  1. W.597, fol. 169b
  2. Title: Alexander the Great fights Fūr, the king of India
  3. Form: Illustration


The binding is original.

Lacquer boards (no flap); floral motifs with a bird in the central panel and inscriptions in the outer frame


Gift note from Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī ibn Ḥusayn Marāghī, known as Ṣanī al-Dawlah, to Nuṣrat Pāshā Mushīr, 18 Shaʿbān 1303 AH / 1885 CE (fol. 2a, left margin)


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters bequest


Richard, Francis. Catalogue des manuscrits persans. (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale, 1989), no. 99A.


Principal cataloger: Gacek, Adam

Catalogers: Landau, Amy; Smith, Sita

Editor: Bockrath, Diane

Conservators: Jewell, Stephanie; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Barrera, Christina; Emery, Doug; Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William; Simpson, Shreve; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Valle, Chiara


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.