Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16279 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Sa'di's Bustan, abridged


1 copy of Kitāb-i Būstān-i Shaykh Saʿdī ʿalayhi al-raḥmah by Saʿdī

An abridgement of Būstān, the renowned didactic masnavī poem by Sa‘dī of Shiraz (d. 691/1292 or 694/1295), apparently completed in 655/1257. The complete text of the Būstān comprises nearly 4,500 couplets, roughly one-third of which appear in this abridgement.

In the present manuscript, an additional bayt, which matches neither the poet’s theology nor the poem’s metre, has been inserted after Sa‘dī’s last bayt.

On this author and his works see e.g. J. Rypka in Cambridge History of Iran, V, pp. 594-600. For manuscripts of the complete Būstān, see FNKhF IV, pp. 2663-8 (118 manuscripts); but this work cites none under the title Muntakhab-i Būstān; other copies are to be found in manuscripts of Sa‘dī’s Kulliyyāt: see FNKhF III, pp. 1861-70 (144 manuscripts).

Another important Muntakhab-i Būstān is in the British Library collection: Or. 14654.

Begins: Ba-nām-i Khudāvand-i jān-āfarīn * Ḥakīm-i sukhan dar zabān āfarīn

Ends: Baẓā‘at nayāvardam illā umīd * Khudāyā zi ‘avfam makun nā-umīd, Ya Murtażà ‘Alī bugshā mushkil marā * ham mushkil-i marā bugshā ham dil-marā

Colophon, f. 22v. Copied (in Iran) for Mullā-Bāshī, evidently a leading cleric, by Muḥammad Karīm, who produced the work in advanced old age as a memento and asks to be pardoned for its deficiencies. Dated 18 Zū l-Qa‘da 128, probably signifying 128[0]/25 April 1864.

Calligraphic shikasta. Red headings. 20 lines, in two columns, in central panel; about 16 in margin panels. Blue and gold text frames. Illuminated headpiece on f. 1v. Thin off-white paper. 24 folios. 153 x 92 mm.; text area 100 x 45 mm. Limp covers in red morocco.

Purchased at Christie’s sale of 28 April 2005, Lot 84.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 24 ff.
Dimensions (leaf): 153 × 92 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 18 Z̲ū al-Qaʿdah 1280 AH; 25 April 1864 CE ; Iran

Record Sources

Based on unpublished description in M.I. Waley, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts acquired 2000-2014.


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