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The ‘Khamsa’ (‘Quintet’) of Nava’i

Old manuscripts were often ‘refurbished’ in the Mughal workshops. New borders were added if the originals had suffered damage. Earlier paintings were reworked or even removed to assemble into albums and new paintings added in their place.

According to notes on its opening page, this manuscript was one of the most valuable in the Mughal imperial library. Written in the late fifteenth century in Herat (in modern Afghanistan), it came into the possession of Hamida Banu Begum, grandmother of Emperor Jahangir. He inherited it after she died in 1604 and had all but one of the earlier paintings removed. New paintings were then added in place of the earlier ones.