Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16159 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Horoscopes from the court of Awadh


An large and ornate calligraphic collection of horoscopes, drawn up for Vazīr al-Mamālik Madār al-Mahām ʿUmdat al-Umarāʾ Muʿtamad al-Dawlah Sayyid Muḥammad Khān Bahādur, vizier to Ghazī al-Dīn Ḥaydar, Nawab and later King of Awadh (reg. 1230-43/1814-27).

The horoscope contains evidence concerning customs and attitudes prevalent in court life at the time. Much of the work consists of tables. On some folios, part of the text is written horizontally and part diagonally. There may have been an opening folio that is now lost, and the manuscript has numerous small losses of text owing to worm damage and paper deterioration.

Begins: ‘Baqiyyah Rūz-i Nawrūz az bahār-i ʿaysh-i sāmān-i tū bād / Vaz gul-i maqṣūd pur gul jayb u dāmān-i tū bād... Muḥīṭ-i qulzum az dil-i daryā ʿaṭāyash nishānah-'ī / va ṣāʿiqah barq az navāyir-i saṭvat u gh[...]ash zabānah-'ī... ’

Dated 11 Sha‘bān 1241/29 June 1826.

Calligraphic nastaʿlīq. Headings mainly written in red naskhī or muḥaqqaq, in either red or gold. Text frames in red, blue and gold; columns and horizontal divisions ruled in red and black. The margins of f. 1r are illuminated in the manner of Lucknow, with intertwining floral motifs in gold and colour, and tables. The last page of text, contains diagrams outlined in gold and parts of the text are written in orange, red, blue, or green. There is worm damage, repaired so far as possible, throughout, with pieces of text lost from many folios. 39 folios. 485 x 320 mm.; inside measurements of most tables are about 372 x 214 mm. Bound in black boards with gilt edging on edge of spine and corners.

Provenance: Bonhams (London), lot 37 (12 Oct 2005)

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 39 ff.
Dimensions (leaf): 485 × 320 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 11 Sha‘bān 1241 AH; 29 June 1826 CE Kingdom of Awadh ; Lucknow (UP), India

Record Sources

Based on unpublished description in M.I. Waley, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts acquired 2000-2014.


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Funding of Cataloguing



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