Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16776 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

'Ala-yi Munajjim's Shajarat ul-asmar


1 copy of Shajarat al-as̲mār by ʿAlá Munajjim

An early Persian treatise on astrology, also known as Ashjār va asmār or Asmār va ashjār. It was written in 686-7/1287-8 by ‘Alā’-i Munajjim, ‘Alī-Shāh ibn Muḥammad Khwārazmī Bukhārī for the Īlkhān’s vizier, Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Sayf al-Dīn Aḥmad-Shāh.

The work comprises sections, called shajara (tree), each comprising several chapters called shu‘ba (branch). For further details, see PL II/1, pp. 62-63. A lithographed edition was published at Lucknow in 1903 under the title Samara-’i shajara-’i nujūm. For other manuscripts, see FNKhF I, pp. 236-238 (33 copies listed). The present manuscript is one of the six earliest copies.

Begins: Basmala Ḥamd va sanā Āfarīdgārī-rā ki aflāk-i davāyir va nujūm-i savāyir bayāfrīd va shukr va sipās Vājib al-Vujūdī-rā ki ‘anāṣir va arkān dar vujūd āvard va az āsār-i ‘ulviyyāt va ta’sīr-i sufliyyāt mazjhā sākht

Ends: Ammā rūzgār vafā nakard pas barīn khatm kard Agarchi khwud-rā dar sadad-i muṣannifān nadānist nishāna’ī sākht va az Khudā-yi ta‘ālā tawfīq khwāst ba-sākhtan-i ū. Va Llāh Valī al-tawfīq

Other contents: front endpaper, title statement, one verse bayt and one rubā‘ī; 1r, excerpts from a work (or works) on astrology, owners’ inscriptions (one being dated 1120/1708-9) and seal impressions; 2r, Ottoman inscription and seal impression of ‘Usmān Bayg; marginal corrections throughout, written by the copyist and by others; additions in margins, 44v-47r, 62v-63r and sporadically elsewhere; 158v, notes in Arabic, concerning conjunctions of the planets, etc., in relation to the date of events in Islamic history; back endpaper, the formula Mā shā’ Allāh lā ḥawla wa lā quvvata illā bi-Llāh.

Colophon, f. 158r; no name, date or place are mentioned. This copy probably dates from the 9th/15th century.

Very neat small naskhī. 19 lines. Red headings and diagrams. Good cream paper, discoloured to light beige towards the edges. 158 folios. 170 x 129 mm.; text lines 113 x 76 mm. Brown morocco binding, probably Ottoman; boards faced with marbled paper.

Purchased from Christies (9 October 2009, Lot 355).

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 158 f.
Dimensions (leaf): 170 × 129 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 15th century CE Ottoman Empire ; Iran or Anatolia

Record Sources

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


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