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Illuminated Manuscripts: Resources and Facsimiles: Finding Facsimiles

A guide to researching illuminated manuscripts and how to locate manuscript facsimiles in the Sloane Art Library.

Folio from a Shahnama

The ship of Kai Khusrau sailing through a body of water with odd sea creatures swimming around the ship.

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi, "Kai Khusrau Crosses the Sea," Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi, attributed to India, Deccan, Bijapur, ca. 1610, ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper, Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Facsimile searching tips

When searching in our catalog, there are a few things that can make it easier to find facsimiles:

  • After searching by Keyword or Subject, click on "Genre" in the left-hand column, and then select "Facsimiles."  The results may not be true facsimiles, but it narrows down the field to books that have some facsimile aspect, and always includes any true facsimiles that we have.
  • Look for library location in the results.  For example, in the art library, books that are marked as in the "Cage" are often more likely to be true facsimiles, as are works in the Rare Books Collection.
  • Look for certain publishers.  Again, while not a hard and fast rule, some publishers regularly produce facsimiles; their name attached to an entry may mean that it is a facsimile.  The box to the right lists some of the most reliable publishers in terms of facsimile production.

Finding manuscript facsimiles on campus

Below are some sample searches for manuscript facsimiles at campus libraries, searching by subject and then limiting the search by genre (facsimiles), library location, and language, if necessary.

Davis Library
Wilson Library
Sloane Art Library
Music Library (located on the first floor of Wilson Library)

Browsing the shelves

The Library of Congress range that will be most useful is ND2890-3416, but you will also find material in other areas, such as P (literary manuscripts), R (medical manuscripts), QK (herbals) or Z (collectors of manuscripts).

Relevant Publishers

  • Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (Graz)
  • British Library (London)
  • G. Braziller (New York)
  • Harvey Miller (London)
  • J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles)
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)
  • Prestel (Munich)