Khamsa (Quintet) by Nizami (d.1209)

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.

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Historical period(s)
Timurid period, 1433-1434 (837 A.H.)
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 23.5 x 15.8 cm (9 1/4 x 6 1/4 in)
Geography
Probably Iran, Fars, Shiraz
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1986.33
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript

Keywords
Henri Vever collection, illumination, Iran, Khamsa, Timurid period (1378 - 1506), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

?-1913
Georges Demotte (1877-1923), method of acquisition unknown [1]

1913 -1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), purchased from Georges Demotte [2]

1942-1947
Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947), bequest of Henri Vever [3]

1947-1986
Francois Mautin (1907-2003), bequest of Jeanne Louise Monthiers and Henri Vever [4]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased from Francois Mautin [5]

Notes:

[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.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

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

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.

Inscription(s)

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]
Complet
(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"

Back flyleaf: written in black ink, "838.deis" (?)

Label

Ilyas b. Yusuf Nizami (1141-1209) was born in Ganja (present-day Kirovabad) in the northwestern Iranian province of Azerbaijan. Although little is known about his life, he is considered one of the greatest poets of the romantic epic in the history of Iranian literature. His Khamsa (quintet) is composed of the Makhzan al-Asrar (treasure Chamber of Mysteries), Khusraw u Shirin, Layla u Majnun, the Haft paykar (Seven Portraits), and the Iskandar cycle, or Iskandarnama which is usually divided into two parts: the Sharafnama (Book of Honor) and the Iqbalnama (Book of Happiness). Although the poems were written individually and each one has its own rhythm, meter, and set of concerns, they are generally presented as a single assembly.

Published References
  • B. W. Robinson. Fifteenth-Century Persian Painting: Problems and Issues. Hagop Kevorkian Series on Near Eastern Art and Civilization New York. p. 64.
  • Laurence Binyon, J.V.S. Wilkinson, Basil Gray. Persian Miniature Painting: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Miniatures Exhibited at Burlington House, January-March 1931. Exh. cat. Oxford, January - March 1931. cat. 52, p. 72, pl. LIa.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 236, pp. 203-205.
  • Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. Exh. cat. London. cat. 539d, p. 256.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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