Khamsa (Quintet) by Nizami (d.1209)

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 18

Terms of Use

Usage Conditions Apply

At A Glance

  • Period

    1433-1434 (837 A.H.)
  • Geography

    Shiraz, Fars, Probably Iran
  • Material

    Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (overall): 23.5 x 15.8 cm (9 1/4 x 6 1/4 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Manuscript; Khamsa (Quintet) by Nizami; text: Persian in black nasta'liq script; headings in red; 267 folios with two illuminated shamsa (fols.1 recto and 83recto), four sarlawhs (fols. 27 verso, 83 verso, 144 verso, and 195 verso), and 8 paintings (fols. 91 verso, 94recto,101recto, 104 verso, 115 verso, 122recto, 129 verso, 134recto); seal (folio1 recto); inscriptions (folio1 recto); standard page: 4 columns, 23 lines of text.
    Binding: The manuscript is in a nineteenth-century lacquer-painted binding with floral designs. The doublures are in red lacquer with a single stemmed narcissus.
  • Inscriptions

    Fol. 1 recto “entered into the library of the slave, the weak, the least servant of God the powerful, Ali b. Lutfullah b. Al-Sadiq al-Husayni. May God stand him in rectitude.
    Seal: folio 1 recto, (oval) Muhammad al-Faydi [?]."
    Affixed to exterior spine, circular sticker with "T. B." [underlined] and "Khamseh Nezami fin XIV ͤ " written in black ink
    Affixed to exterior spine, small circular sticker, no text or annotation
    Affixed to front flyleaf: upper right corner, sticker for the International Exhibition of Persian Art, London 1931 with "VV 7" written in black ink
    Affixed front flyleaf: upper right of page, scalloped sticker with "Douanes Expositions Paris" stamped in green ink
    Affixed to front flyleaf: right side near spine, two circle stickers stacked on top of each other, on top sticker "1" written in black ink
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil, "H. Vever, no. 7 [circled], London, £ tbi, is"
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil:
    Khamseh, Nezami [underlined]
    (Inscription sur la 1ère page)
    _ Ce livre est entré en la possession --
    d'Ali -- ben -- Loft -- el- Lah-ben-il
    Sadiq el Hosseïnï en 837_
    Le manuscrit est donc antérieur
    à cette date --
    (Fin XIV ͤ ou commencement du XV ͤ siècle)
    2 rosaces
    7 miniatures
    2 têtes de chapitre
    Date 837 hy 1434
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil, "X0028" [underlined]
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil in corner of page, "no. 256 Demotte" [underlined]
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil in corner of page, "H.V. rt = ptsxx"
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil in corner of page, "est D = tppxx"
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil, "V. is = 1930"
    Front flyleaf: written in pencil, 34 [encircled]
    Back flyleaf: written in pencil, "no. 256"
  • Provenance

    Georges Demotte (1877-1923), method of acquisition unknown [1]
    1913 -1942
    Henri Vever (1854-1942), purchased from Georges Demotte [2]
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947), bequest of Henri Vever [3]
    Francois Mautin (1907-2003), bequest of Jeanne Louise Monthiers and Henri Vever [4]
    From 1986
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased from Francois Mautin [5]
    [1] See note 2. Georges Demotte was a collector and dealer of Islamic and medieval European art. He had galleries in Paris and New York City.
    [2] An accomplished French jeweler and collector, Henri Vever (1854-1942) amassed a large and impressive collection of works of art during his lifetime. His holdings in Japanese prints and Islamic arts of the books, especially from Iran and India, were among the most important assembled in the early twentieth century. Vever purchased this manuscript from Demotte on July 23, 1913, identified as "no. 256,"see Henri Vever Account Ledger, FSA A1988.042.2, July 23, 1913, Henri Vever Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. This manuscript was in Vever's collection at the time of his death in 1942.
    [3] Upon Henri Vever's death on September 25, 1942, his wife, Jeanne Louise Monthiers inherited this work. See exhibits F and G of Agreement of Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection, January 9, 1986, copy in object file.
    [4] Upon the death of Jeanne Louise Monthiers, as stipulated in the will of Henri Vever, the family's assets were divided evenly between his two grandchildren. His only grandson, Francois Mautin inherited the collection known as "The Henri Vever Collection of Oriental Art and Manuscripts Including Persian and Indian Art and Manuscripts." This work is part of that collection. See exhibits F and G as cited in note 2.
    [5] The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased the entirety of the collection from Francois Mautin on January 9, 1986. See purchase agreement, copy in object file.
    Research completed June 23, 2022.
  • Collection

    Arthur M. Sackler Collection
  • Exhibition History

    East of Eden: Gardens in Asian Art (February 24 to May 13, 2007)
    A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection (November 20, 1988 to April 30, 1989)
    International Exhibition of Persian Art (January 7 to March 7, 1931)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Francois Mautin (1907-2003)
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947)
    Henri Vever (1854-1942)
    Georges Demotte (1877-1923)
  • Origin

    Shiraz, Fars, Probably Iran
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The National Museum of Asian Art welcomes information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Keep Exploring