Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16403 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Jami's Divan, selection


1 copy of Dīvān-i Jāmī by Jāmī, 1414-1492

Calligraphic and illuminated manuscript containing a selection from the complete Dīvān (lyric poems) of Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898/1492). See C. Huart and H. Massé‚ ‘Djāmī, Mawlānā Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, EI2 II, pp. 421-2; ™. Okumuş, ‘Câmi, Abdurrahman’, TDVİA 7, pp. 94-8 (Dīvān and printed editions, p. 97); A‘lokhon Afsahzod, Ruzgor va osor-i Abdurrahmani Jomī, Dushanbe 1980.

For manuscript copies, see FNKhF III, pp. 2264-70 (137 copies). Printed editions: Dīvān-i Jāmī, ed. Ḥusayn Pizhmān, Tehran 1317/1939; Dīvān-i kāmil-i Jāmī, ed. Hāshim Rażī, Tehran 1341/1962-3; Dīvān-i Jāmī, ed. Muḥammad Rawshan, Tehran 1380/2001-2; Fātiḥat al-shabāb, ed. A‘lokhon Afsahzod, Moscow 1978; Vāsiṭat al-‘iqd va Khātimat al-ḥayāt, ed. A‘lokhon Afsahzod, Moscow 1980.

The poems are preceded by two prefaces in prose. Munzavī, FNKhF III, p. 2264, gives incipits for three prefaces, assigning each to one of the three chronologically compiled Dīvāns. They do not, however, include the first preface in the present manuscript, which occupies folios 1v-2r and the first third of 2v; nor is this found in the editions by Afsahzod (see below). The first of these prefaces chronologically (the second in this manuscript) is the one found in numerous copies of the Dīvān (see e.g. Munzavī, loc. cit.; Rieu BM II, p. 643), and in Rawshan’s edition. The second, evidently composed towards the end of Jāmī’s life and after he had grouped his lyric poems into three separate Dīvāns at the request of ‘Alī Shīr Navā’ī. According to the first preface, this occurred ‘when no more than three years remained of the ninth hundred’, i.e. about five years before the author’s death, the patron and the process being the main subject of this later preface. According to the second preface, Jāmī rearranged his lyric poems in 884/1479-80; these would not, of course, have included all of the poems later collected in Khātimat al-ḥayāt.

The present manuscript is incomplete at the end, and there are now a number of other lacunae in what remains an elegant copy of early date, perhaps from the author's lifetime: there are lacunae after folios 47, 48, 98, 99, 105, 106, 107, 111, 120, 121, 123, and 129. The description of the manuscript, dated Muḥarram/June-July of 1112/1700 or 1113/1701, now attached to the verso of f. 144 shows that at that date the manuscript contained ‘five Indian paintings’ (panj majlis taṣvīr-i Hindī). Judging by the quality of the surviving illumination, at least some of the losses may have been due to other illuminated folios – which may have contained separate sections for different poetic genres – beING detached and sold or given away separately. A mufrad verse has been added by the copyist in the margin of f. 73r.

First preface begins: Basmala Ba‘d az tayammun bi-adā-yi sanā-yi Jamīlī Jalīl ki bā‘is-i ghazal-sarā-yi qāfiya-sanjān lughz-i guftār bar ḥusn-i khūbān va jamāl-i maḥbūbān Agar dānand va agar na juz muṭāla‘a-i ṭavāli‘-i ḥusn va jamāl-i Ū nīst

Second preface begins: Bism Allah al-Raḥmān al-Raḥīm * Hast ṣalā-yi sar-khwān-i Karīm

Poems begin (5v): Taḥmīd-i Khudāvand-i ta‘ālà va taqaddas Zān pīsh kaz madad u ham khāma-rā madad * jūyam madad zi fażl-i Tū ay Mufżil-i khirad

Ends (below the following bayt are two more, which have been obscured by smudging): Ba-sū-yi khwīsh marā rukhṣat-i guzar nadihī * va gar ba-khwud guzaram furṣat-i naẓar nadihī

Other contents: front endpaper verso, ex libris ‘au Cte Chandon de Briailles’, with library shelfmark OR.XIV; 1r, seal of al-mutavakkil ‘alà Llāh ‘Alī Asad Allāh, dated 1235/1819-20.

The style of the illumination and binding, together with the statement about five illustrations cited above, suggest that the manuscript is probably of Indian origin. Undated: late 9th/15th or early 10th/16th century.

Calligraphic nasta‘līq of high quality. 19 lines. Heading texts in gold suls. Illuminated shamsa (1r) and Basmala heading (1v). Text frames and columns: black, gold, blue. Fine, polished cream paper of medium thickness, f. 48-122 being more beige in colour. 144 folios. 308 x 200 mm.; text 195 x 110 mm. Fine black morocco binding with gilt impressed central (with birds) and corner (with vegetal scrolls) medallions and pendants, back and front, repaired and rebacked and with slight damage to the spine.

Purchased from Sam Fogg Ltd., 22 March 2007.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 144 f.
Dimensions (leaf): 308 × 200 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 16th century CE ; India

Record Sources

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


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