Who is the Bearded Man and the Young Boy Standing Next to Him?
Fresh Findings from an Illustrated Manuscript of Nāmī’s Leylī va Majnῡn & Khosrow va Shīrīn
Keywords:Leylī va Majnῡn, Khosrow va Shīrīn, Nāmī Isfahānī, Persian Poetry, Illustrated Manuscript, Qajari Painting
The SMNA Library is custodian to an interesting manuscript that contains two interesting poetry books bound in a single leather binding. The manuscript is both exciting and – in almost every instance – misleading! Its peculiar features are riddle-like, confusing and alerting at the same time. The volume is incomplete from both ends; the beginning of the first part (Leylī va Majnῡn) is missing, and so is the end of the second part (Khosrow va Shīrīn), and several sections in between. And whatever remains also is not in right arrangement. And to these major imperfections, I may add a consistent terrible handwriting all-through! One may therefore conclude that the volume is of no significance. Yet, a careful assessment of the text, illustrations, seal impressions, marginal writings, and doodling sketches, will bring the manuscript to a new light of literal, historical, social, and artistic significance.