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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Illustrated Manuscript of the Khamsa (Quintet) by Nizami
Work Type
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Aq Qoyunlu period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Ink, colors, and gold on paper; leather binding
29 x 18 x 6 cm (11 7/16 x 7 1/16 x 2 3/8 in.)
Ezzat-Malek Soudavar, Geneva, Switzerland (by 2014), by descent; to her son Abolala Soudavar, Houston, Texas (2014), loan; to Harvard Art Museums, 2015.

Ezzat-Malek Soudavar (1913-2014) formed this collection over a period of sixty years. She purchased the works of art on the international art market.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Loan from A. Soudavar in memory of his mother Ezzat-Malek Soudavar
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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The manuscript opens with a double-page illuminated frontispiece. The text is copied in nastaʿliq script with 19 lines and four columns to a page. The manuscript includes 24 illustrations in the Turkman style. The first Colophon in f. 117r, at the end of the book of Khusraw and Shirin, provides the name of the scribe, Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. Mas‘ud, known as Mun‘im al-Awhadi, and the date 16 Shaʿban 894 (15 July 1489). The second colophon on f. 181r at the end of the book of Layla and Majnun gives the scribe’s name and the date 12 Ramadan 894 (9 Aug 1489). The same scribe has penned a Divan (ghazaliyyat) of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi in the same year, probably just before our manuscript. That is dated 20 Safar 894/23 Jan 1489 and was sold in the Christies in 2002. See

The codex contains 385 folios (including the last two replacements) and is incomplete.
Several notes and seals at the beginning have been obliterated. The notes in French on the first flyleaf indicate that the manuscript was owned by Basile B. Corpi in 19 June 1885 in Constantinople. He owned a number of Persian manuscripts in the 19th century, such as the Varqa and Gulshah, now in the University Library of Hamburg (Cod. orient. 305).
The binding has dark brown grainy coarse leather on the outside cover, decorated with stamped pieces in gold and green, inlaid on the central lozenge (turanj), pendants and corner pieces, and light brown plain leather on the inside cover.
Related Works

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