Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16491 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Rare Safavid history, Ta'rikh-i sultani


1 copy of Tārīkh-i sulṭānī by Sayyid Sulṭān Navāz Khān

A rare history of the Safavid Shahs, from Ismā‘īl I (reg. 907-30/1501-24) down to 1150/1737. By Sayyid Sulṭān Navāz Khān. This text includes some material not found in other most other historical works on the period in question. The author gives his name, and that of the work, in his preface (f. 14v-16r).

Only one other copy of Tārīkh-i sulṭānī has been traced in published catalogues: Chester Beatty Persian MS. 398; this is dated 1205/1791 and is described in the catalogue as ‘apparently unique’. The number of folios, 255, would be almost identical to that in the present copy but for the presence in the BL manuscript of an extensive table of contents (see below). See A.J. Arberry et al., The Chester Beatty Library: a catalogue of the Persian manuscripts and miniatures, III (Dublin, 1962), p. 99. The Dublin manuscript is mentioned in Storey/Bregel’ PL I/2, p. 899, though not in Storey.

In the present manuscript, the text is preceded by a table of contents occupying several folios (f. 2r-12r) and giving a total of 125 chapter or section headings, the following two sides being blank but for ruling.

Begins: Basmala Tarannum-i ‘andalīb-i khayāl-i dībācha-nivīsān-i ḥaqīqat sirisht-i kamāl ba-ḥamd-i Ṣāni‘īst ki ṭumār-i i‘jaz madār-i zabān-i ḥāl-rā ba-muhra-’i nubuvvat muhr-i Sarvar-i Anbiyā va ‘itrat-i azkiyā-yi ū sākhta

Ends: Dar sana-i hazār va yakṣad va panjāh dar shahr-i Ṣafar al-Muẓaffar dawlat az ān khānadān-i makramat kard intiqāl Har ki āmad raft Inn al-‘umr nafy ba‘d hīn sū-yi ān ‘Ālam va Inn al-dahr ḥāl ba‘d ḥāl Kull shay’ hālik illā Vajhah Lah al-ḥukm va ilayh turja‘un

Iran. Undated: 13th/19th century.

Nasta‘līq. 15 lines. Red headings and overlinings. There are numerous notes throughout the volume, which indicate the subject matter of passages of special interest; also some text corrections by the copyist. Good beige paper, heavily sized. 268 folios; 255 in the old foliation, which omits the contents tables. 233 x 146 mm.; text lines 155 x 84 mm. Dark navy blue morocco binding with simple blind tooled border ornamentation.

Purchased from Christie's South Kensington (26 October 2007, lot 397).

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 268 ff.
Dimensions (leaf): 233 × 146 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 19th century CE ; Iran

Record Sources

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


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