Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

King's Pote 32 (King's College Library, King's College Cambridge)

Pote Collection


Summary of Contents: 1 copy of Inshā-yi ʿAbd al-Ḥayy.

Note concerning author: The author is probably Niẓām al-dīn ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Munshī.

Language(s): Persian

Colophon details: Date: End of Jumādā I, 941 / Dec 1534 Scribe: Anonymous.

Note concerning manuscript: According to a note on the flyleaf the manuscript is in the hand of ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Munshī, i.e. the author, Niẓām al-dīn ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Munshī Astarābādī. ʿAbd al-Ḥayy was an early master of taʿlīq and served as secretary to Abū Saʿīd Gurkān, a great grandson of Timur. He was a pupil of Jaʿfar Bāysunghurī and died in Tabriz in 907 (reference: Fażāʾilī, Aṭlas al-khaṭṭ, pp.325-6).ʿAbd al-Ḥayy was himself the master of Mullā Darvīsh, i.e. Mawlānā Darvīsh, ʿAbd Allāh Balkhī, another master of taʿlīq. Mullā Darvīsh was secretary to the children of Abū Saʿīd Gurkān, of Ḥusayn Bayqārā and his children, and of Uzbek Shaybānī (d.916). In fact, there is no name in the colophon to this manuscript and the date 941 would not allow for this to be an autograph. Rather, 941 dates the ms to 10 years into the reign of Shah Tahmasp and 4 years into the reign of Humayun. 10 years after this Humayun would seek refuge with Shah Tahmasp and it is reported that a number of calligraphers including a later master of taʿlīq, Mīr Manṣūr Astarābādī (who wrote in the style of Darvish) and/or his son Mīr Qāsim (also a master of taʿlīq), left to serve Humayun and later Akbar, in India (ref. Qāżī Aḥmad, Gulistān-i Hunar, in the Minorsky translation, Calligraphers, p.89). These latter two, Mīr Manṣūr and Mīr Qāsim would be candidates for the scribe of this manuscript. And this could also help explain how the manuscript came to be in India.

Note concerning work: Epistolary models.


Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: All folios have been remounted.
Extent: 25 folios.
Dimensions (leaf): 23 × 17.3 cm.
Dimensions (written): 16 × 11 cm.
Foliation: Foliated bottom left (on original folios).


6 lines per page.

Original folios ruled in gold and lapis. Red rubrications.


Script: taʿlīq. Quality: Excellent (calligraphic). Scribe: Anonymous.


F.1v: an illuminatated sarlauh (early Safavid) - blue and gold.


Flyleaf: Polier's seal (1181) along with an erroneous note about the scribe.


Reddish brown plain leather. Plain paper doublures. Dimensions: 23.5 × 17.5 × 1.2 cm. Boxed. Polier's number: 31.


Origin: End of Jumādā I, 941 AH; Dec 1534 CE

Provenance and Acquisition

The "Pote Collection" arrived in England from India in 1790 and was divided between the Colleges of Eton and King's, Cambridge, with the first half alphabetically going to King's. Both halves of the collection are now housed in Cambridge University Library on permanent loan. Most if not all of the manuscripts had previously been owned by Colonel Antoine-Louis Henri Polier (1741–1795).

Gift of Edward Ephraim Pote (d.1832) in 1788.

Record Sources


All manuscripts of the Pote Collection are on permanent loan at Cambridge University Library. Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card for admissions procedures consult Cambridge University Library. Contact near_eastern@lib.cam.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript

Funding of Cataloguing

King's College Cambridge


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