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Walters Ms. W.613, Five poems (quintet)

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Five poems (quintet)

Text title
Khamsah-i Niẓāmī

Vernacular: خمسه نظامي


Authority name: Niẓāmī Ganjavī, 1140 or 41-1202 or 3

Supplied name: Ilyās ibn Yūsuf Niẓāmī Ganjavī

Name, in vernacular: الياس بن يوسف نظامي گنجوي

Note: Author dates preferred by cataloger: d. 605 AH / 1209 CE


This is a fragment of one of the most important illustrated manuscripts produced for the Mughal emperor Akbar: a copy of the Khamsah (quintet) of Niẓāmī Ganjavī (d. 605 AH / 1209 CE) copied by the royal scribe ʿAbd al-Raḥīm ʿAmbarīn Qalam in the fortieth year of Akbar's reign (1004 AH / 1595 CE). It was most likely executed in Lahore. The larger portion of the manuscript, preserved with the colophon, date, and scribe’s name, is housed in the British Library (Or. MS 12208). The Walters fragment contains parts of Khusraw va Shīrīn and Iskandarnāmah, with five illustrations. The illustrations bear ascriptions to court artists as well as running numbers from 1 to 44. The Walters folios are inscribed with the following names: Sānvlah, Nānhā, Shīvdās, Dharm Dās, and Bīm Gujarātī.


[24 Aẕar 40th year of Akbar’s reign / 1595 CE] as given in BL Or. MS 12208


Probably Lahore (present-day Pakistan)


As-written name: Sānvlah

Name, in vernacular: سانوله


As-written name: Nānhā

Name, in vernacular: نانها


As-written name: Shīvdās

Name, in vernacular: شيوداس


As-written name: Dharm Dās

Name, in vernacular: دهرم داس


As-written name: Bīm Gujarātī

Name, in vernacular: بيم كجراتى


Supplied name: ʿAbd al-Raḥīm ʿAmbarīn Qalam

Name, in vernacular: عبد الرحيم عمبرين قلم

Note: Name of scribe given in two colophons in the British Library fragment Or. MS 12208 (see bibliography)




Literary -- Poetry


The primary language in this manuscript is Persian.

Support material


Light brown paper; later outer margins in various colors


Foliation: vii+39+vii

Hindu-Arabic numerals inscribed in the middle of the upper margins just above the frame


Catchwords: Written on versos in the illuminated border



21.5 cm wide by 34.0 cm high

Written surface

10.5 cm wide by 19.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 4
  2. Ruled lines: 21

fols. 1a - 39b:
  1. Title: Khamsah-i Niẓāmī
  2. Author: Niẓāmī Ganjavī, 1140 or 41-1202 or 3
  3. Scribe: ʿAbd al-Raḥīm ʿAmbarīn Qalam
  4. Artists: Sānvlah; Nānhā; Shīvdās; Dharm Dās; Bīm Gujarātī
  5. Incipit: كه عشق ومملكت...
  6. Text note: Fragment containing portions of Khusraw va Shīrīn and Iskandarnāmah only
  7. Hand note: Written in black nastaʿlīq script with chapter headings in red
  8. Decoration note: Five illustrations (four narrative subjects) by Sānvlah, Nānhā, Shīvdās, Dhārm Dās, and Bīm Gujarātī; borders decorated with flora and fauna


Upper board outside:

  1. W.613, Upper board outside
  2. Title: Binding
  3. Form: Binding
  4. Label: The upper board of this lacquer binding has a design of flowers on a red ground. It dates to the thirteenth century AH / nineteenth CE.

fol. 1a:

  1. W.613, fol. 1a
  2. Title: Text page
  3. Form: Text page
  4. Label: This text page was copied by the royal scribe ʿAbd al-Raḥīm ʿAmbarīn Qalam in 1003 AH / 1595 CE.

fol. 5a:

  1. W.613, fol. 5a
  2. Title: Farhād before Khusraw
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Text: Khusraw va Shīrīn
  5. Label: This is an illustration by Sānvlah.

fol. 16b:

  1. W.613, fol. 16b
  2. Title: Invention of the mirror in the presence of Alexander the Great
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Text: Iskandarnāmah
  5. Label: This is the right side of a double-page illustration by Nānhā.

fol. 17a:

  1. W.613, fol. 17a
  2. Title: Invention of the mirror in the presence of Alexander the Great
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Text: Iskandarnāmah
  5. Label: This is the left side of a double-page illustration by Shīvdās.

fol. 26b:

  1. W.613, fol. 26b
  2. Title: The death of Darius
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Text: Iskandarnāmah
  5. Label: This illustration is by Dharm Dās.

fol. 34a:

  1. W.613, fol. 34a
  2. Title: Alexander the Great enthroned at Persepolis
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Text: Iskandarnāmah
  5. Label: This illustration is by Bīm Gujarātī.


The binding is not original.

Lacquer boards with floral motifs in the main panel


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters bequest"


Original description: Welch, S.C. “The Emperor Akbar’s Khamsa of Niẓāmī.” Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 23 (1960): 87-96.

See also, Storey, C. A. Persian Literature: A Bio-Bibliographical Survey, Vol. 1/2. (London: Luzac; Leiden: E.J. Brill; London: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1994), 438-495.

For the description of British Library Or. MS 12208, see Brend, Barbara. The Emperor Akbar's Khamsa of Nizami. London: British Library, 1995.


Principal cataloger: Gacek, Adam

Catalogers: Landau, Amy; Smith, Sita

Copy 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.