Page from Hafiz-i Abru's Majma' al-Tawarikh:... - Lot 180 - Ader

Lot 180
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Page from Hafiz-i Abru's Majma' al-Tawarikh:... - Lot 180 - Ader

Page from Hafiz-i Abru's Majma' al-Tawarikh: History of Abdullah bin Saba

Text: Herat, Afghanistan, Timurid period, ca. 1425; illustration: ca. 1900-1925, probably Iran

Persian manuscript on brown "Herati" paper, the title of the chapter in large red thuluth, important phrases in red naskh, the text in black naskh in red and blue rules, the reverse with 33 lines of text, the first lines of the chapter replaced by the illustration depicting an audience of a king and three courtiers in a sinister style, advertisement, inventory number '10350'.

Page size: 42.5 x 32.8 cm; in view: 33.7 x 22.4 cm; painting: 11.8 x 22.2 cm


Soiling. Staining in the upper margin. Old losses restored. Illustration added around 1900-25.


The text deals with the early caliphs, the death of Ali and the heterodox ghulat movement of Abdullah bin Saba.


A folio from the Majma' al-Tawarikh of Hafiz-i Abru: Chapter on the first caliphs, the death of Imam 'Ali and Abdullah bin Saba, Text: Herat, Afghanistan, Timurid Period, circa 1425-26; illustration circa 1900-1925, probably painted in Iran


Provenance: Former Emile Tabbagh collection.


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 the PDF catalogue for more information


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