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2002 articles 1986 articles

The Bustan of Sa'di: an illustrated Persian manuscript dated 850/1446

Norah M. Titley and M. I. Waley


AMONG the notable items acquired in recent years by the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books is a finely calligraphed and illuminated mid-fifteenthcentury poetical manuscript in Persian (Or. 14237), containing three miniature paintings. Despite their slightly damaged condition these miniatures are of particular significance for the study of what is an interesting phase in the stylistic development of Persian painting. They belong to a very small group, dating from the 1440s, in which elements associated with the style prevalent at Shiraz (in southern Persia) are intermingled with certain features characteristic of the work produced at Herat and Samarkand (in the north-east, and beyond the borders of modern Iran). Although in recent years several distinguished scholars have written on the Persian painting of this period, certain aspects of the subject merit further study; the style represented in Or. 14237 is one of them. Miss Titley's presentation and analysis of the miniatures in this manuscript, which follows, is a significant contribution towards this end.

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