Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16450 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Two poetical works


Summary of Contents: Two poetical works, Khaqani and Sa'ib. Good painted lacquered binding with ornate floral ornamentation in a style associated with Kashmir; black spine with simple gilt decoration. Purchased from Mr. H. Mohamad, 5 December 2007.
1. ff. 1v-389v

An incomplete copy of the collected poems of Afżal al-Dīn Badīl ibn ‘Alī called Khāqānī Sharvānī (d. 595/1199). On this author, one of the great Persian lyric poets, see B. Reinert, ‘Khāḳānī, Afḍal al-Dīn...’, EI2 IV, pp. 915-6; idem, Hāqānī: poetische Logik und Phantasie, Berlin 1972; HIL pp. 202-8; LHP II, pp. 391-9.

For a detailed account of manuscripts and printed editions of Khāqānī’s Dīvān, for commentaries, and for a bibliography of related writings in European languages, see F. de Blois, PL V/2 (Poetry ca. A.D. 1100-1225), pp. 382-399. For manuscripts, see also FNKhF III, pp. 2308-13. The second oldest known copy is BL Or. 7942, dated 664/1266. Critical editions of Dīvān-i Khāqānī have been published by ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Rasūlī (Tehran, 1317/1939) and Żiyā’ al-Dīn Sajjādī (Tehran, 1338/1959).

The present manuscript begins with a qaṣīda rhyming not in alif but in shīn, found with different wording on p. 209 of Sajjādī’s edition; this is followed by one in alif (the third qaṣīda in Sajjādī, p. 6). The text breaks off about halfway through the rubā‘īs rhyming in mīm (cf. ed. Sajjādī, p. 727).

Other contents: f. 1v, verses with inscription below: Kas̲rat-i girya bāshad; 1-23, many additions in margins; few marginal notes elsewhere; 134r, small, obscured seal impression.

No colophon. Probably Northern India, ca. 12th/18th century.

Nasta‘līq, excellent except on f. 1-23 which are poorly written 13th/19th century replacements. 17 lines. No headings. Off-white paper with a faint pink tinge, probably Indian. Many folios have patch repairs. Damp staining, to a variable degree, in a roughly triangular pattern in upper centre through most of the volume. 241 x 142 mm.; text lines 178 x 84 mm.

Language(s): Persian
2. ff. 390r-450v

Selected ghazal poems of Mīrzā Muḥammad ‘Alī Ṣā’ib Tabrīzī (d.1088/1677-8), the greatest and most prolific exponent of the often extravagant poetic style known as sabk-i Hindī (on which see E. Yarshater, ‘Persian poetry in the Timurid and Safavid periods’, in Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 6, pp. 965-994, especially pp. 982-994. On Ṣā’ib see also Munibur Rahman, ‘Ṣā’ib, Mīrzā Muḥammad ‘Alī’, EI2 VIII, pp. 851-2; HIL pp. 301-2; LHP IV, pp. 265-76. For manuscripts of the Dīvān see FNKhF III, pp. 3291-8, under the heading Dīvān-i Ṣā’ib-i Tabrīzī and out of alphabetical sequence (143 copies). Printed editions: with preface by Amīrī Fīrūzkūhī, Tehran 1333/1945-6; with preface by Mumtāz Ḥasan, Lahore and Karachi 1977.

The present manuscript now contains a selection of ghazals rhyming in letters bā to shīn. Many of the leaves are bound out of order. The first ghazal, on f. 390r, rhyming in dāl, is found on p. 415 of Amīrī Fīrūzkūhī’s edition. The last, rhyming in tā, does not appear in the Tehran edition.

No colophon. Perhaps from Northern India, ca. 12th/18th century.

Nasta‘līq, mainly of good quality. 15 lines. No headings. Mid-brown paper, rather thin, probably Indian. Patch repairs to f. 390-394 and a few others. 241 x 142 mm.; text lines 164 x 96 mm.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 450 ff.
Dimensions (leaf): 241 × 142 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 18th century CE ; India

Record Sources

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


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