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Walters Ms. W.644, Yusuf and Zulaykha

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Yusuf and Zulaykha

Text title
Yūsuf va Zulaykhā

Vernacular: يوسف وزليخا


Authority name: Jāmī, 1414-1492

As-written name: Nūr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Aḥmad Jāmī

Name, in vernacular: نور الدين عبد الرحمان بن احمد جامي

Note: Author dates preferred by cataloger: d. 898 AH / 1492 CE


This manuscript is an illuminated and illustrated copy of the famous story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife (Yūsuf va Zulaykhā) by Nūr al-Dīn Jāmī (d. 898 AH / 1492 CE), executed in the tenth century AH / sixteenth CE in Safavid Iran. The text is written in black nasta‘līq script and begins with a double-page illuminated incipit with headpiece (fol. 1b-2a). The manuscript contains three illustrations (fols. 50b, 116a, and 150b). The dark brown goatskin binding, which is original to the manuscript, has panel-stamped designs and red doublures with gold filigree work over colored paper.


10th century AH / 16th CE






Literary -- Poetry


The primary language in this manuscript is Persian.

Support material


Cream-colored laid paper


Foliation: 174


Catchwords: Written obliquely outside the frame on versos


14.0 cm wide by 22.0 cm high

Written surface

6.5 cm wide by 13.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 2
  2. Ruled lines: 12
  3. Framing lines in gold, green, orange, black, brown, and blue

fols. 1b - 174a:
  1. Title: Yūsuf va Zulaykhā
  2. Author: Jāmī, 1414-1492
  3. Incipit: الهى غنچه اميد بكشاى ...
  4. Hand note: Text written in nastaʿlīq script in black ink; chapter headings written in nastaʿlīq script in white ink
  5. Decoration note: Double-page illuminated incipit with headpiece (fol. 1b-2a); interlinear gilt illumination (fol. 1b-2a); framing lines in gold, green, orange, black, brown, and blue; rectangular panels for chapter/section headings


fol. 1b:

  1. W.644, fol. 1b
  2. Title: Illuminated incipit page with headpiece
  3. Form: Incipit; headpiece
  4. Label: This illuminated incipit has a blue and gilt headpiece with polychrome floral decoration. The text, divided into two columns, has interlinear gilt illumination with additional floral decoration.

fol. 50b:

  1. W.644, fol. 50b
  2. Title: Zulaykha traveling to the Aziz of Egypt, her future husband
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Label: This illustration depicts Zulaykha in a blue-domed litter on a camel led by a cameleer. The retinue is entering the capital of Egypt.

fol. 116a:

  1. W.644, fol. 116a
  2. Title: Egyptian women overwhelmed by Yūsuf's beauty
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Label: This illustration depicts Yūsuf, who is identified by a flaming halo, entering a room where Egyptian women sit peeling fruit with knives. According to the narrative, the women were so distracted by Yūsuf's incomparable beauty that they inadvertently cut their hands.

fol. 150b:

  1. W.644, fol. 150b
  2. Title: Yūsuf gives a royal banquet in honor of his marriage
  3. Form: Illustration
  4. Label: Once Yūsuf, depicted here with a flaming halo and seated at the left side of the composition, received divine approval to marry Zulaykhā, he organized a banquet to which he invited the Egyptian king and officials. The banquet takes place in an interior defined by two curtained windows and tiled walls with floral decoration.


The binding is original.

Dark brown goatskin (with flap); panel-stamped central and border divisions with floral and vine designs, brushed with gold; red doublures with central lobed medallion and cornerpieces of gold filigree work over colored paper that has significant loses


Pāpās-zādah[…], dated [1]311 AH / 1893-4 CE (fol. 1a)


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters bequest


Gacek, Adam. Persian Manuscripts in the Libraries of McGill University: Brief Union Catalogue. (Montreal: McGill University Libraries, 2005), no. 334.

Richard, Francis. Catalogue des manuscrits persans. (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale, 1989), nos. 356, 359-361, 369.


Principal cataloger: Gacek, Adam

Catalogers: Landau, Amy; Smith, Sita

Editor: Bockrath, Diane

Conservators: Jewell, Stephanie; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Barrera, Christina; Emery, Doug; Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William; Simpson, Shreve; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Valle, Chiara


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.