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Poetry and Other Non-Historical 
Manuscripts

One of the most notable features of the painting ateliers of Jahangir and Shah Jahan is that while Akbar’s artists were engaged mainly in the illustrating of manuscripts, artists working for his son and grandson focused primarily on the production of single-page paintings destined to be included in muraqqa‘s (albums), and it is these albums that are the focus of the exhibition. However, several of the comparatively few manuscripts produced for Jahangir and Shah Jahan are also included.

One of the manuscripts made for Jahangir is a copy of the Shahnama, or Book of Kings, the great Persian epic that tells the stories of the kings and heroes of pre-Islamic Iran. At the time of the Mughals, the Shahnama was--as it is still today--immensely popular within the Persian-speaking world. This manuscript has been dismantled, its folios dispersed among collections in Europe and North America, and less than twenty, mainly text folios, have survived, all of which have beautifully decorated borders, such as the folio shown here.

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