Illustrations from the manuscript of the Romance of Varqa and Gulshah, c1250.
Warqa wa Gulshah, Varqa u Gulshah, Varka ve Gülþah'ta, Varqa o Golšãh, Le Roman de "Varqe et Golsah."
Scenes from the only known illustrated manuscript of the poem, the Romance of Varqa and Gulshah, by Urwa b Huzam al-'Udhri, with paintings by Abd al Mu'min al Khuwayyi.
The early thirteenth-century manuscript of Varqa and Gulshah in the Topkapi Palace Library (Haz. 841) is the unique copy of the Persian poet Ayyuqi's 11th-century romantic poem about a pair of unfortunate lovers.
The manuscript - generally held to be a product of early 13th-century Seljuk Anatolia - is also the earliest surviving example of an illustrated book containing a literary Persian text.
Based on a story "told by Arabs," the poem was (re-)composed by Ayyuqi in the eastern Iranian world during the Ghaznavid period.
The seventy-one paintings constitute a fascinating corpus of images which indicate a particularly rich realm of artistic process and audience expectation.
A summary of the story of Varqa and Gulshah
Click on the pictures for a larger image.
f.51/48a. They brought Varqa to the tomb of the sheep
f.52/49a. Visit of Hilal to Varqa
f.53/50a. Varqa opens the tomb and finds the corpse of the sheep
f.54/51a. Varqa leaves his tribe after learning the truth
f.55/52b. The King of Sham on horseback, brings the wounded Varqa to his palace
f.56/53b. Varqa lies wounded in bed
f.57/55a. Varqa on a throne
f.58/55b. Gulshah half-reclining on a throne, found the ring in the milk
f.59/56a. Fainting of Varqa and of Gulshah seeing themselves from afar
f.60/57b. The King of Sham between Varqa and Gulshàh; inside a tent.
The artist's name 'Abd al-Mu'min b. Muhammad al-Naqqash al-Khuyi occurs as a witness to the endowment deed of the madrasa founded
by the Seljuk amir Jalãl al-Din Karatay in 1253-54AD at Konya. The artist's signature is fol.58v of the Warqa wa Gulshãh manuscript.
The nisbah al-Kliuyi shows that he was from Khuy, Azerbaijan. (Grube 1966 p .73; Melikian-Chirvani 1970 pp.79-80; Rogers 1986 p.50).
From the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, Turkey.
Varqa wa Gulshah, page 1
Varqa wa Gulshah, page 2
Varqa wa Gulshah, page 3
Varqa wa Gulshah, page 4
Varqa wa Gulshah, page 5
Varqa wa Gulshah, page 7
Large Coloured Military Illustrations from the Romance of Varqa and Gulshah
Seljuk Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers