Bayasanghor Shahnameh (Persian: شاهنامه بایسنقری) is one of the historical monuments of Iran, which is included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register of cultural heritage items in 2007. UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program is a program that was proposed by the International Advisory Committee in 1992 and approved by the Director-General of UNESCO. The purpose of this project is to preserve the documentary heritage and ease of access to them and to prevent illegal trading, looting, dispersal, and destruction. The most important criteria for selecting these works are their universal value.
Shahnameh is the most influential masterpiece of Persian poetry written in an epic poem form by Abul-Qasem Ferdowsi. Abul-Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi was born in 941 AD in the Tus city and died in1020 AD, ten years after he finished the Shahnameh. Ferdowsi's Shahnameh was written when the Arabic language was popular in Iran, and the Persian language was in danger of being marginalized. During thirty difficult years, Ferdowsi took advantage of all the rich expressive possibilities of this language and composed a work entirely in Persian in which the sweet Persian language was revived and maintained until today.
Ferdowsi's Shahnameh contains about 60,000 verses that have been written in almost thirty years. This work includes the myth, legend, and history of Iran from the beginning to the Arab invasion in the seventh century AD. The Shahnameh is divided into three main parts. They are mythical (from the reign of Keyumars to the reign of Fereydoun), heroic (from the uprising of Kaveh Ahangar to the death of Rostam), and historical (from the reign of Bahman and the rise of Alexander to the Arab conquest of Persia). This collection of poems presents the story of four dynasties of Pishdadian, Kianian, Parthian, and Sassanian. The Shahnameh has been become a popular text in the court of the Persian kings and was being one of the main texts for making manuscripts copies for centuries. This work was written and illustrated many times in different historical periods of the Patriarcha, Timurid, and Safavid. The court book-binding workshops devoted most of their time to the construction, gilding, painting, and imitation of the Shahnameh. The making of manuscripts of the Shahnameh was also common in other civilizations and neighboring countries, including Central Asia, India, and the Ottoman Empire. It was the valuable gifts found among court offerings. Bayasanghor Shahnameh is a masterpiece of the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, which was made in 1430 AD at the order of Bayasanghor Mirza Teymouri, the grandson of Timur Lang. Among all the printed copies of the Shahnameh, only the Bayasanghor is kept under lock and key in the imperial library of the Golestan Museum Palace in Tehran.
Bayasanghor Shahnameh represents the quintessence of aesthetic and literary values of the elite rulers of the Timurid Renaissance who dominated Central and Western Asia in the 15th century. This work is one of the masterpieces of Persian miniature, which is made in the size of 256 by 384 mm with a diameter of 75 mm. The text of this book was written for the court of Bayasanghor Mirza (837-802 AH) by Jafar Bayansoghori, in Nastaliq script. It has 690 pages and 22 miniatures of the Herat School and is one of the most important works in this school. A study of the pictures in this version shows that Bayasanghor Shahnameh was painted by three painters named Maulana Ali, Maulana Ghiam al-Din (Ghavam al-Din), and Maulana Khalil (Amir Khalil). The most important paintings of this Shahnameh are the meeting of Ferdowsi with poet, Jamshid kingdom, the meeting of Ardeshir and Golnar, the meeting of Kikavous, the meeting of Rostam and Esfandiar, the meeting of Zal and Rudabeh, and the killing of Siavash.