A King's Book of Kings: The Shah-Nameh of Shah Tahmasp by Stuart Cary Welch.
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DESCRIPTION: HUGE hardcover in slipcase w/magnificent color plates (199 pages). Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972). Composed in the tenth century by the poet Firdowsi, the "Shah-nameb", or "Book of Kings", is Iran's central literary work, a historical epic peopled with monarchs. Monarchs some of inspiring goodness, others of unmatched wickedness. Also peopled with handsome paladins, beautiful maidens, malevolent witches, and treacherous demons. The particular manuscript of the "Shah-nameb" introduced here by Stuart Cary Welch, Curator of Indian and Islamic Painting at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, is the most sumptuous one every produced.
Containing scores of paintings where other sixteenth-century manuscripts contained perhaps a dozen, the Houghton "Shah-nameb" (identified with the name of its owner, Arthur A. Houghton) is thought to have been commissioned about 1522 by Shah Isma'il, the founder of the Safavid Dynasty, as a present for his son, Prince Tahmasp. Court artisans and craftsmen continued their work on the 759 folios for the better part of two decades. As a consequence, the book offers a fascinating mixture of artistic styles.
The extraordinary quality of the paintings was known even in Shah Tahmasp's time. One commentator wrote then of Sultan Muhammad's page representing "The Court of Gayumars"; "the boldest painters hung their heads in shame before it". While that superb image, reproduced within the book in color and gold, is called by Stuart Welch "perhaps the greatest painting in Iranian art:, others of the pages he has selected for color reproduction and special comment are clearly in the same area of merit.
A number of these eight leaves, along with others not produced in the book, were presented to The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Mr. Houghton in 1970. In additional to tutoring the reader in the elements of early Safavid painting and the differing personalities of the masters who contributed to Shah Tahmasp's book, Mr. Welch explains the action in each of the illustrated scenes. Pictorial "close ups" for each scene permit one to savor their details, exquisite, charming, or astonishing.
CONDITION: GOOD. SLIPCASED (lightly read, but slightly damaged) hardcover w/magnificent color plates. Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972) 199 pages. Clean and only lightly read, however the spine heel of the book was modestly bumped. There's not much evidence to the spine heel itself, it was only bumped, not crushed. But inside many of the pages show an echo of the spine heel bump, a little wrinkle at the bottom inside corner of the page corresponding with the spine heel. Also, there is one torn page in the book, page 31 has a long but clean tear running diagonally across half the page (it is a text page, not an illustration page). Otherwise the inside of the book is very nice, the pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, otherwise unmutilated, tightly bound, and evidencing only mild reading wear. Based on the relative tightness of the binding, I'd guess the book was read through only once, perhaps only flipped through a few times. Except for the mildly bumped spine heel (and little visible damage from the outside of the book), the cloth covers are otherwise clean and unsoiled, only the spine itself is slightly light faded, as it peeks out from the slipcase and so is exposed to light whereas the rest of the book remains within the slipcase. The slipcase, as cardboard slipcovers are want to do, evidences pretty heavy edge and corner shelfwear. We repaired the separated seams, touched them up, and then used a clear, think binding reinforcement tape to the spine, top and bottom edges, so as to adequately protect the slipcase in future. With the repairs and the binding reinforcement tape, the slipcase is reasonably attractive and intact. Given the shelf wear to the book it might lack the "sex appeal" of a "shelf trophy". Nonetheless for those not concerned with whether the book will or will not enhance their social status or intellectual reputation, it is an otherwise clean and only lightly read copy with "lots of miles left under the hood". Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! Meticulous and accurate descriptions! Selling rare and out-of-print ancient history books on-line since 1997. We accept returns for any reason within 14 days! #1276z.
PLEASE SEE IMAGES BELOW FOR SAMPLE PAGES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK.
PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW.
REVIEW: Reproduction and examination of a monumentally significant 16th century Persian manuscript. Originally issued in 1972 as part of the 2500th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Persian Empire. Overview of the so-called "Houghton Shah-nameh", including full-color reproductions of the illustrative material contained therein. Introductory statement by Amir Aslan Afshar; foreword by Thomas Hoving; includes checklist of the paintings and a bibliography of Safavid painting. Book design by Peter Oldenburg; printed in Switzerland.
REVIEW: When "A King's Book of Kings" first appeared in 1972 as part of the 2500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire, reviewers called it "important and handsome", "a delight and an education". Thirty years later, it still is.
REVIEW: The Shah-Nameh (Book of Kings) is Iran's national epic, composed in the 10th century. This copy was written and illustrated in the 16th century and contains illustrations of stunning beauty.
REVIEW: A study of Persian miniature painting. Reproduces pages from a sixteenth-century Islamic manuscript which details early Iranian history and contains miniatures by leading Safavid painters.
REVIEW: Iranian painting-specifically miniature painting in books-has always been regarded as one of the most original and exquisite forms of the pictorial arts, and indeed its style is unique. The manuscript known as the Houghton Shah-nameh epitomizes Iranian art and provides the ideal artistic experience that only a true masterpiece can give. This shows the choicest paintings to be found in the manuscript.
REVIEW: First published in 1522 by Shah Isma'il, the founder of the Safavid dynasty, as a present to his son, Prince Tahmasp. Court artists continued their work on the 759 folios for almost two decades. No Islamic volume of the time has a more complete set of colorful, carefully executed miniatures, being a virtual art gallery compared to other royal illuminated manuscripts. Fully illustrated in color and black and white, with explanations of each scene as well as pictorial close-ups, and a lengthy introduction.
REVIEW: Composed in the tenth century by the poet Firdowsi this book is Iran's Primary literary work. This tome contains hundreds of magnificent paintings by Iranian artists.
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Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology.
I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. And yes, my writing style might seem familiar to you. I have given permission to several other eBay sellers to use my written descriptions and historical information, and you'll find my descriptions and histories widely plagiarized by unauthorized eBay Sellers as well (as the ditty goes, the highest form of compliment). Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."