Synopses & Reviews
Princetonandrsquo;s Great Persian Book of Kings
presents the first comprehensive examination of a beautifully decorated yet relatively unknown manuscript of the Shahnama
and#160;(Book of Kings), created in 1589andndash;90 in the flourishing cultural center of Shiraz. Held by Princeton University and called the Peckand#160;Shahnama
after its donor, the work ranks among the finest intact 16th-century Persian manuscripts in the United States.
Composed more than one thousand years ago, the epic poemand#160;Shahnama narrates the story of Iran from the dawn of time to the 7th century A.D. Its 50,000 verses and countless tales of Iranandrsquo;s ancient kings and heroes have been a vital source of artistic inspiration in Persian culture for centuries. Author Marianna Shreve Simpson offers a detailed discussion of the Peckand#160;Shahnama, including its origins, history, and artistic characteristics. All of the manuscriptandrsquo;s intricately illuminated and illustrated folios are reproduced with stunning new photography, and each is accompanied by commentary on its narrative themes and artistic presentation. An essay by Louise Marlow explores the manuscriptandrsquo;s extensive marginal glosses, an unusual feature of the Peckand#160;Shahnama.
The Shahnama or Book of Kings glorifies the spectacular achievements of Iranian civilization from its mythologized beginnings to the time of the Arab Conquest. Ferdowsi's Shahnama: Millennial Perspectives takes a fresh look at the reception of Ferdowsi's poetry, especially in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries.
Ferdowsi's Shahnama: Millennial Perspectives celebrates the ongoing reception, over the last thousand years, of a masterpiece of classical Persian poetry. The epic of the Shahnama or Book of Kings glorifies the spectacular achievements of Iranian civilization from its mythologized beginnings all the way to the historical time of the Arab Conquest, when the notionally unbroken sequence of Iranian shahs came to an end. The poet Hakim Abu'l-Qasim, who composed this epic, was renamed Ferdowsi or "the man of Paradise" in recognition of his immortalizing artistic accomplishment. Even now, over a thousand years after his death in 1010 CE, the impact of Ferdowsi's epic poetry reverberates in the intellectual and artistic life of Persianate cultures all over the world. Ferdowsi's Shahnama: Millennial Perspectives undertakes a new look at the reception of Ferdowsi's poetry, especially in the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries CE. Such a reception, the contributors to this book argue, actively engages the visual as well as the verbal arts of Iranian civilization. The paintings and other art objects illustrating the Shahnama over the ages are as vitally relevant as the words of Ferdowsi's poetry.
This lavishly illustrated book presents Princeton Universityandrsquo;s splendid 16th-century Shahnama
as well as detailed discussion of its 50 large-scale paintings.
About the Author
Marianna Shreve Simpsonand#160;
is a Philadelphiaandndash;based independent scholar who has written extensively about Islamic book arts.and#160;Louise Marlowand#160;
is professor of religion and program director for Middle Eastern studies at Wellesley College.