Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 15868 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Miftah al-abvab az ʻilm-i tibb


1 copy of Miftāḥ al-abvāb az ‘ilm-i ṭibb by Niʻmat Allāh

A medical treatise in Persian by Ni‘mat Allāh, banda-’i Sultan Salīm, evidently composed for the Ottoman Sultan Salīm II (reg. 974-82/1566-74), who suffered from gout. It comprises a preface and introduction (muqaddimah), seven faṣls, and an epilogue (khātimah).

The introduction sets out (f 9r-v) the following plan for the work, but the author subsequently departed from it: Muqaddimah, on various ailments; faṣl 1, dar bayān-i dastūr-i akl va shurb-i ṣāḥib-i mafāṣil dar ayyām-i siḥḥatash: advice on food and drink for those with [gout affecting the] joints, when in good health; faṣl 2, dar ashyāyī kih iḥtirāz azān vājib ast: on things that must be avoided; faṣl 3, dar taqaddum-i ḥifẓ-i siḥḥat-i ānkas kih ‘ādat ba-‘urūż-i niqris dārad: a regimen for those who habitually suffer from gout; faṣl 4, dar qānūn-i ‘ilāj: principles of treatment; faṣl 5, dar ‘alāmāt va tashkhīṣ-i maraz̤ (symptoms and diagnosis of illnesses); faṣl 6, dar ‘ilājāt: remedies; khātimah, mushtamil bar favayid-i mutafarriqah: conclusion, containing various useful observations.

In the text itself, however, the plan of the work is as follows: preface, 3v-9v. Muqaddimah: 9v-15v. 1 (15v-18v): dar dustūr-i ma’ākil ve mashārib dar ayyām-i siḥḥatash: diet for when in good health. 2 (18v-19v): dar ashyāyī ki iḥtirāz azān vājib ast: things to be avoided. 3 (19v-21r): dar taqaddum-i ḥifẓ-i ṣiḥḥat: regimen appropriate to the seasons of the year (without specific reference to gout). 4 (21r-24v): dar qānūn-i ‘ilāj-i niqris: principles of treating gout. 5 (24v-25r): badānkih dar istidlāl az muvāfaqat-i īrād-i adviyah-’i bāridah yā ḥarrah bar ‘uz̤v iḥtiyāṭ-i tamām bāyad kard: the need for caution in deducing the nature of the illness according to whether the patient responds well to cold or to hot drugs. 6 (25r-25v): dar ‘alāmāt: symptoms. 7 (25v-35r): dar ‘ilājāt: remedies. Khātimah (35r-37v): conclusion.

Other contents: 1r, several inscriptions enclosed in cloudbands drawn in black ink: ornamental title, tamalluks of Muḥammad Amīn (dated 1178/1764-5), Ḥāfiẓ Muḥammad Sa‘īd, and (Kūrzādah?) Ḥasan al-Ṭabīb (dated [1]154/1741); 1v, more recent owner's inscription; 1r-3r, small round Ottoman seal impressions with ṭughrā; 37v, label describing the work as Miftāḥ al-abvāb dar mu‘ālajah-’i niqris and the copyist as Ni‘mat Allāh Ṭabīb.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Thick, cream-coloured paper of good quality.
Extent: 37 ff.
Dimensions (leaf): 213 × 140 mm.
Dimensions (written): 122 × 81 mm.




Fine naskhī, vocalised in carefully and well chosen words and phrases. Copyist: Ni‘mat Allāh Ṭabīb.


Headings in red. Text frames in gold and black. Ornamentally inscribed title page. Good illuminated frontispiece and headpiece. Colophon page decorated with simple gilt floral arabesques.



Binding: good maroon morocco with gilt impressed central ogival lobed medallions and chain border lines, rebacked.


Origin: 1650 - 1750 CE

Provenance and Acquisition


Purchased at Bonhams sale 24 April 2002, lot 79.

Record Sources

Based on unpublished description in M.I. Waley, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts acquired 2000-2014.


Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card for admissions procedures contact British Library, Registering for a Reader Pass. Contact apac-enquiries@bl.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript. For information on catalogues and ordering manuscripts see Finding and ordering Persian manuscripts in the British Library.

Funding of Cataloguing



Comment on this record

Please fill out your details.

How are we using your feedback? See our privacy policy.

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.