Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

RAS Persian 211. (Library, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland)

Persian Manuscripts


1 copy of Risalah-i Shatranj

Defective. Author unknown. 64 diagrams of chess problems (see above) precede 63 pages of text, bound out of order. Much of the original is missing. There are separate foliations for diagrams and text, on the versos. Author unknown (defective). F1a: Signature of David Price. Folio preceding 1a, recto: 'The gift of'' preceding the name, written in Persian of Mr Robert Holford. Below this 'H. Ross', perhaps in the same hand as 'The gift of''. Red leather Indian cover with blind-stamped and painted decoration, rebound from the Carnegie U.K. Trust grant, 1929. Presumably it was at the same time that a number of the pages were carefully repaired, and that the present outer casing was provided. The original manuscript was of very high quality. There is an illuminated panel at the top of f1b. Ruled margins and section dividers, partly in gold. Headings and quranic quotations in gold. Punctuated with small decorative rosettes in black highlighted in gold. A treatise on the game of chess, including an apparently unique description of the variety known as Great Chess.

Incipit: Incipit of existing text (f33b/1a): In bab az an awardam
Language(s): Persian.


Storey, ii, p. 388. No other manuscript known.
N. Bland, 'On the Persian game of chess', J.R.A.S. xiii (1852), pp. 1-70.
D. Forbes, The History of Chess ... (London 1860), pp. 78-87, 138-154, Appendix A.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 64 folios, 63 pages of text and 64 pages of illustrations of chess positions)
Dimensions (leaf): 9.75 × 6.5 in.


15 lines on page




Origin: Probably 15th century.

Provenance and Acquisition

Bequeathed by Major David Price.


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