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Frontispiece of the Shah Nama: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This illuminated frontispiece originally comprised the title pages of a copy of the Shah Nama, or Book of Kings, a work of 50,000 rhymed couplets that recounts the heroic tales of Iran's pre-Muslim past. The central fields are written in a fluid thuluth script, and the white calligraphic headings are executed in the more angular and formal kufic script. Book illuminators were responsible for decorating the chapter headings, marginal ornaments, and verse stops in an incredible variety of geometric and floral motifs. They worked closely with the calligraphers, who were charged with producing as accurate a copy of the text as possible; the illustrators, who at times painted pictures to accompany the text; the book binder; and occasionally the person who commissioned the work.
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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009