New Publication – Treasures of Herat: Two Manuscripts of the Khamsah of Nizami in the British Library (Gingko)

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Submitted by Frances Wilson:


Two Manuscripts of the Khamsah of Nizami in the British Library 

by Barbara Brend 

Edited by Melanie Gibson 

Co-published with the British Library 


'Quite simply, this book is a treasure, and it takes the study of Timurid painting to new levels of sophistication.'

- Robert Hillenbrand, Emeritus Professor in Islamic Art History at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of St Andrews

In this book, Barbara Brend provides an account of two very beautiful Persian manuscripts housed in the British Library(Or.6810 and Add.25900). Both are copies of the Khamsah (Quintet) – a set of five poems by the twelfth-century poet Nizami, one of the most renowned authors of Persian literature. The narrative poems recount the love story of the pre-Islamic king Khusrau with Shirin, a queen of Armenia; the ill-fated love of Layla and Majnun; the seven stories told to the Sasanian king Bahram Gur by seven princesses and the story of Alexander the Great. Both manuscripts were produced in Herat (modern Afghanistan) in the fifteenth century, one of the greatest periods of Persian painting, and one includes paintings by the celebrated painter Bihzad who worked at the court of the Timurid Sultan Husayn Bayqara. In this magnificently illustrated book, Barbara Brend tells the story of each poem and the painting that illustrates it, and formally analyses the images, placing them in their historical and artistic context. The images from both highly-prized manuscripts are beautifully reproduced in colour, with many details and comparative paintings.

Review copies are available on request - please contact either myself or Gingko direct. 

Thank you for your consideration


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