Iranian Inspiration: Firdausi’s Shahnamah in India

Copies of the Shahnameh count among the earliest Persian illustrated manuscripts from India, and judging by the number of copies in a huge variety of local and Mughal styles, Firdausi’s epic was one of the most popular and significant expressions of Indo-Persian culture throughout the medieval and early-modern periods.

William Kwiatkowski’s lecture will propose that the production of copies of the Shahnameh not only signified the Indian elites’ participation in the broader universe of Persian culture; the independence of Mughal and other Indian traditions of Shahnameh illustration from Iranian ones shows rather that the Shahnameh had particular significance for an Indian audience, and it seems that certain episodes were chosen for illustration because of their particular relevance to Mughal history and Indo-Persian culture.



William Kwiatkowski

William Kwiatkowski is an independent scholar working on inscriptions from Iran, India and the Ottoman Empire. He has published readings of inscriptions for various museum publi... Read More


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