Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shahnama (1550-1600 A.D.)

The significance of the Shahnama is not limited to Persian literature and history, however. Often used for political purposes, later rulers used the Shahnama to legitimize their governance by establishing their place within the historical tradition of Iran. This was done by commissioning illustrated copies of this manuscript. This practice began in the Mongol period, with the earliest known illustrated texts dating from c. 1300. Even Non-Iranian rulers (Turks and Mongols) who adopted Persian culture and traditions of kingship used the Shahnama for purposes of self-identity.

Illuminated title page of a Shahnama with preface.
Lewis O 51, f. 1v-2r

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