He commissioned his court workshop to create an illustrated manuscript of the Hamzanama early in his reign he was by then about twenty , which was conceived on such an unusually large scale that it took fourteen years, from about to , to complete. Apart from the text, it included full page Mughal miniatures of an unusually large size, nearly all painted on tightly-woven cotton cloth. The work was bound in 14 volumes. According to contemporary accounts, about thirty main artists were used, and over a hundred men worked on the various aspects of the book in all. According to Badauni and Shahnawaz Khan the work of preparing the illustrations was supervised initially by Mir Sayyid Ali and subsequently by Abdus Samad, the former possibly being replaced as head of the workshop because the pace of production was too slow.
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The famous Naval Kishor Press of Lucknow called in the leading oral reciters of the day, and caused their Hamza stories to be written down. The resulting volumes were so popular that more and more were published, until the whole cycle ran to an astonishing 46 very large volumes.
These volumes were created in Lucknow from the s into the early s, and became the crown jewels of Urdu narrative fiction. By the s, however, they had begun to seem outmoded, and were increasingly supplanted by western-style novels and short stories. But they have always been felt to be the heart of the cycle, and thus were chosen in by the Khuda Bakhsh Library to be reprinted.
These reprint volumes are in better condition than most of the original volumes, and are much easier to read. In this interview , Farooqui and Husain discuss their performance style. In written form too, one translation of Tilism-e oshruba volume 1 has also been published, and another translation condensed from the whole Tilism-e hoshruba. For further background, here is a general overview of the Hamza tradition.
On our website, the volumes of Tilism-e hoshruba, "The sense-stealing enchantment," have been featured most prominently. But we also very much intend to complete the whole set of 46 volumes, which will be available on this site in PDF form for those who want to immerse themselves more deeply in the stories. Please bear with us while we finish locating and scanning these now rare and fragile volumes.
Most of the volumes have been scanned by a Rekhta. Pritchett , who has also helped to check the readability of the scanned volumes and to fix various problems. We and they are delighted to bring the Hamza stories to many new readers.
Dastan-e-Amir Hamza Collection / داستان امیر حمزہ سیریز
Dastan - e - Ameer Hamza URDU