An ancient Persian manuscript -- Rashid Al-Din's "World History" -- sold in a London sale room on Tuesday (8 July) for 850,000 pounds Sterling (about two million dollars), the highest auction price on record for a manuscript.
GV TILT DOWN EXTERIOR Offices of Sotheby's Auctioneers, London, UK.
CU Sign outside building 'Sotheby's, Est 1744.
CU INTERIOR Page of manuscript of Rashid Al-Din's "World History" showing Prophet Muhammad receiving submission of the Banu'1 Nadir.
CU Detail of illustration of Muhammad.
CU Illustration of Tao-ch'eng of Southern Ch'ing.
CU Detail from illustrations of Noah and his ark showing two fish.
SV ZOOM IN Mr. Nabil Aaidi, Sotheby's Persian and Hebrew manuscripts department speaking in English with Visnews reporter John Darby.
CU Details from illustrations as Mr. Saidi continues speaking. (3 SHOTS)
CU Mr. Saidi speaking in English.
DARBY: "Mr. Saidi, why is this manuscript so important?"
SAIDI: "For two reasons. The first is that it is considered the first attempt to compile a world history. The second is that it is also considered the foundation of Persian miniature painting and therefore of tremendous art historical importance."
DARBY: "What do we know about the author?"
SAIDI: "The author was a vizier and a physician of the Mongol rulers and he was a man of letters and as a result of his success in writing the history of the Mongols he was commissioned by the rule Uljaytu to write a world history."
DARBY: "Is it possible that it might then leave the United Kingdom and perhaps go back to the Middle East or even Iran?"
SAIDI: "It could very well do that."
DARBY: "And what sort of price might it be expected to fetch?"
SAIDI: "Well we've estimated at two hundred to three hundred thousand taking into consideration that the world record for any manuscript, Oriental or Western, is three hundred and ninety thousand pounds."
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Background: An ancient Persian manuscript -- Rashid Al-Din's "World History" -- sold in a London sale room on Tuesday (8 July) for 850,000 pounds Sterling (about two million dollars), the highest auction price on record for a manuscript. Before the sale it was estimated that it would change hands for about 300,000 pounds Sterling (about 600,000 dollars).
SYNOPSIS: The manuscript, which was sold at Sotheby's auction rooms, dates from the year thirteen-fourteen. It contains 63 leaves and 100 miniature illustrations. With its companion volume, owned by Edinburgh University, it has long been considered the starting point for the study of Persian painting. Its illustrations were executed in Tabriz at the crucial moment of fusion between earlier Persian and Islamic traditions, Byzantine, Indian and Chinese elements.
The prophet Muhammad's history is contained in one of the four sections of the book.
Before the sale, Visnews reporter John Darby asked Mr. Habil Saidi of Sotheby's about the manuscript.