Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami

Author: Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)

Object Name: Illustrated manuscript

Date: 1509–10

Geography: Attributed to Iran, Shiraz

Medium: Leather; tooled and gilded; ink on paper

Dimensions: 11 1/2 x 7 in. (29.2 x 17.8 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Gift of Alexander Smith Cochran, 1913

Accession Number: 13.228.6


Manuscripts from the Safavid capital, such as this copy of Nizami's Khamsa, are notable for their high-quality illumination and bindings. Characteristic of Persian doublures of this period is the contrasting colors of this example: the burgundy of the leather, the blue of the center and corner-pieces, and the gold gilding. Venetian Renaissance gilded leather bindings were particularly influenced by Safavid and Ottoman examples.