Ni∫[alpha]matnāmah-yi Nā˛siruddīn Shāhī
Norah M. Titley
RoutledgeCurzon, 2005 - Cooking - 516 pages
The Ni'matnama is a late fifteenth-century book of the recipes of the eccentric Sultan of Mandu (Madhya Pradesh), Ghiyath Shahi, collected and added to by his son and successor, Nasir Shah. It contains recipes for cooking a variety of delicacies and epicurean delights, as well as providing remedies and aphrodisiacs for the Sultan and his court. It also includes important sections on the preparation of betel leaves as well as advice on the logistics of hunting expeditions and warfare. The text provides a unique and tantalising account of rarified courtly life in a fifteenth-century Indian Sultanate region.
There is only one known copy of the Sultan's Book of Delights in existence and it is held in the Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library (BL. Persian 149). The manuscript is illustrated with fifty elegant miniature paintings, most of which show the Sultan, Ghiyath Shahi, observing the women of his court as they prepare and serve him various dishes. The book is fascinating in that the text documents a remarkable stage in the history of Indian cookery whilst the miniatures demonstrate the influence of imported Persian artists on the style of the Indian artists employed in Ghiyath Shahi's academy.
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