Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or. 13506 (St. Pancras, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts


1 copy of Kitāb-i Kalīlah va Dimnah by ʻIbn al-Muqaffaʻ, d. ca. 760

The animal fables of Bīdpāy

Translation completed in 536

Language(s): Persian translation


For a more detailed description see Waley 1998, page 67. For a more detailed description see Titley 1977, page 6-7.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 209 ff
Dimensions (leaf): 22 × 11 cm.


3 illuminations

67 miniatures

(forming a double-page miniature with 3r). A king's retinue with cheetahs, horse and hawk (flaked).

The king enthroned surrounded by courtiers two of whom stand behind him with crossed spears. Two lions before the throne (flaked).

Anūshīrvān and Būrzuyeh who holds the 'Book of Wisdom' (i.e. Kalīlah va Dimnah).

The four wise men who wee ordered each to compose an instructive maxim.

Būrzuyeh receiving his instructions before going to India.

Būrzuyeh reporting to Anūshīrvān.

The man and the thief, who is masked.

The man who jumped into the well when pursued by a mad camel shown with his feet on the snakes, the dragon below him, rats nibbling the branches and a beehive by his head.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī (rubbed).

The carpenter and the monkey (rubbed).

The lion with its courtiers, leopard, wolf and gazella and Dimnah.

The lion, the gazelle, Dimnah and Shanzabeh, the ox.

The old woman trying to kill her daughter's lover (rubbed).

The surgeon, the shoemaker and his wife who is veiled.

The man killing the snake which killed the crow's fledglings. (All birds in the miniatures except owls are haloed).

The hare and the lion looking at their reflections in the well.

Dimnah with Shanzabeh.

The lion assisted by the wolf, leopard and Dimnah treacherously attaking the camel.

The ducks carrying the tortoise clinging to a stick watched by astonished villagers.

The lion attacking Shanzabeh watched by Kalīlah, Dimnah, the wolf and the leopard (rubbed).

The man hidden in the tree telling lies about the stolen money to the judge (rubbed).

Dābishlī and Bīdpā'ī.

(above) The leopard telling the lion of the jackal's treachery. (Below) The lion and his mother.

The lion with Kalīlah, Dimnah, the leopard and the wolf.

The falcon tearing the eyes out of the falconer who lied.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.

The crow and the ringdovers.

The crow and the rat. Fish in the pool.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.

The elephant tricked by the hare looking at the moon's reflection.

The hare and the nightingale consulting the cat.

The monk who was tricked into thinking his sheep was a dog.

The div encouraging the thief (masked) to steal the sleeping monk's cow.

The carpenter under the bed listening to his wife and lover.

The religious man offering his daughter to the mouse.

The owls trapped in the cave by the crows which lit fires outside.

The snake and the frogs. (The artist appears to have been unfamiliar with frogs as he has drawn creatures like bear cubs).

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.

The monkey riding the tortoise (rubbed).

The monkey with the tortoise.

The lion killing the ass.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī (flaked).

The religious man accidentally breaking his oil pot.

The man killing the weasel before he realised it had saved his baby's life by killing the snake. Baby in cot.

The rat and the cat.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.

The king talking to the falcon Fanzeh which had torn out his son's eyesafter the prince had killed its fledgling.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.

The lion with the wolf, leopard and jackal.

The lion with its mother and two gazelles.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.

The Brahmans interpreting Hīlār's dreams.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.

Hīlār with a Brahman.

Hīlār's wife Īrāndukht with their two sons.

Hīlār seeking advice from his vizier about the Brahman's interpretation of his dreams (damaged).

Hīlār's vizier consulting a wise man.

The white elephant belonging to Hīlār.

The other elephants of Hīlār.

Camel belonging to Hīlār.

Sword belonging to Hīlār.

Hīlār with Īrāndukht.

Hīlār with another of his wives.

The two doves.

Īrāndukht asking Hīlār for his forgiveness.

The man who rescued the monkey standing above the pit in which the snake, the lion and the goldsmith are still imprisoned.

Dābishlīm and Bīdpā'ī.


Origin: Southern Iran (Shiraz?); 707 AH

Record Sources

Manuscript description based on M. I. Waley: Supplementary handlist of Persian manuscripts, 1966-1998. London, 1998


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Funding of Cataloguing



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