Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami, Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217), Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper

Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami

Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)
Object Name:
Illustrated manuscript
15th century
Attributed to Iran, Shiraz
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
H. 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
W. 8in. (20.3cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Alexander Smith Cochran, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
By the end of the fifteenth century, manuscripts of Persian poetry typically were written in a script known as nasta'liq, an elegant, flowing form of calligraphy. This manuscript is somewhat unusual in its archaizing use of the more rectilinear naskh script. Nevertheless, the paintings of this manuscript are stylistically akin to those found in manuscripts produced in Shiraz during the reign of Sultan Khalil Aq Quyunlu (d. 1478), suggesting that it was copied under an earlier patron, but illustrated in the Aq Quyunlu period.
Inscription: Khamsa of Nizami , هفت پیکر Haft Paykar, story شکار کردن بهرام و داغ کردن گوران

(Nizami Ganjavi, Sab’a-yi hakim Nizami Ganjavi, Haft Paykar, ed.Hasan vahid Dastgirdi, Muassaa-ye Matbu’ati Ilmi publication, 2nd ed., 1363/1985, p.70-71.)


Marking: On fol. 115a, in upper left corner: seal impression of owner: "Salih, A.H. 1177 (A.D. 1763–64)"
Alexander Smith Cochran, Yonkers, NY (until 1913; gifted to MMA)
New York. Asia Society. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," October 14, 2004–January 18, 2005, no. 22:14.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," February 26, 2005–May 15, 2005, no. 22:14.

Middlebury College Museum of Art. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," September 8, 2005–December 11, 2005, no. 22:14.

Valentiner, William Reinhold. "The Cochran Collection of Persian Manuscripts." Museum of Metropolitan Art Bulletin, old series, vol. 8 (1913). pp. 80-86.

Mackenzie, Colin, and Irving Finkel, ed. Asian Games The Art of Contest. New York: Asia Society, 2004. no. 22:14, p. 295, ill. fig. 22:14, (fol. 40b, color).