Page from the Majma' al-Tawarikh of Hafiz-i... - Lot 176 - Ader

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Page from the Majma' al-Tawarikh of Hafiz-i... - Lot 176 - Ader

Page from the Majma' al-Tawarikh of Hafiz-i Abru: The Chinese Emperors Feidi, Huaidi and Mindi

Text and illustration: Herat, Afghanistan, Timurid period, c. 1425-26

Persian manuscript on cream "Baghdadi" paper, the text in black naskh in red and blue rules, the titles in large red naskh, three Chinese emperors painted in polychrome washes enhanced with gold, the reverse with 33 lines of text, advertisement, inventory number '10150'.

Page size: 41.3 x 29.8 cm; view size: 32.8 x 22.5 cm


Marginal fading. Slight soiling. Polychromy leaks. Shortened folio.


The three emperors are identified in Persian as "Fuidi who reigned 7 years," "Hundi who reigned 6 years," and "Mundi who reigned 4 years," presumably the emperors who ruled in their own right.", presumably the Six Dynasty emperors Feidi (252-258 AD), Huaidi (307-312 AD) and Mindi (313-316 AD) (see online Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chem/hd/chem.htm viewed on 17 October 2021).


This page was illustrated in Shahrukh's imperial workshop. The folio with these three emperors also exists in the Ilkhanid Arabic copy of the Jami' al-Tawarikh in the Khalili Collection in London, whose style it follows (Sheila S. Blair, A Compendium of Chronicles, Oxford, 1995, folio 253a and ff.247-259). It is to be compared with six other 'intact' folios depicting Chinese emperors belonging to our manuscript, held in the Princeton Library (Garrett 88GA and 89GB), the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (CBL Per. 105.1a), the Yale University Library (no. 1983.94.7) at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA (1960.183), and a final one recently sold at Sotheby's London on 26 April 2017, lot 114. The large number of figures in the China chapter compared to other parts of the work is probably due to the importance of relations with China in the Ilkhanid and later Timurid periods.


A folio from the Majma' al-Tawarikh of Hafiz-i Abru: The Chinese Emperors Feidi, Huaidi and Mindi, Timurid Herat, Afghanistan, circa 1425-26 (text and illustration)


Provenance: Former collection of Emile Tabbagh.


This lot is part of a set of eight pages from the Majma' al-Tawarikh of Sultan Shahrukh presented in this sale. For more information, see the PDF catalogue.

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Eight pages of the Majma' al-Tawarikh of Sultan Shahrukh from the collection of Emile Tabbagh

The eight pages presented here are from a major manuscript produced in Herat in the Timurid workshops of Sultan Shahrukh (r. 1405-47), successor to the founder of the dynasty, Timur (1336-1405). Entitled Majma' al-Tawarikh ("The Assembly of Stories"), this Universal History is a dynastic project that establishes the legitimacy of Shahrukh, the fourth son of Timur, to whom he was not the heir apparent.

The manuscript has a complex history, both in terms of its production in Shahrukh's scriptorium(kitabkhana) and its critical fortune in the twentieth century, when numerous illustrations were added to the manuscript shortly before its arrival in the United States around 1926, presumably in Iran, in an attempt to deceive art lovers. The manuscript was divided between 1928 and 1933 by the dealer and collector Émile Tabbagh, its owner with Parish Watson. It is now widely dispersed in international public and private collections. These eight pages were donated by the descendants of Émile Tabbagh (d. 1934). Other pages are in the British Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, etc. Through its additions, then its almost immediate division and dispersal between 1928 and 1935, the Majma' al-Tawarikh manuscript embodies the history of the Islamic art market in the early 20th century.

The Majma' al-Tawarikh is a Universal History from the Prophets of the Old Testament to the Reign of Shahrukh written by the historian Hafiz-i Abru (d. 1430). Two illustrated manuscripts survive today: one is autograph and is kept in the library of the Topkapi Sarayi Palace, Istanbul (Hazine 1653), the other, from which our folios are taken, is a copy dating from the same years, and is now dispersed. Both copies bear the seal of the Kitabkhana of Shahrukh... See PDF catalogue for more</p

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