Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Three Royal Asiatic Society Persian manuscripts digitized by Cambridge University Library

By Rachel M. Rowe

Detail from 56v of the Gulistan (RAS Persian 258)

This month sees the launch of our Royal Asiatic Society collection with three remarkable Persian manuscripts currently on long loan to the University Library. The Shāhnāmah of Muhammad Juki was copied in Herat between 1440-5 and is considered to be one of the finest Timurid manuscripts of the 15th century.

The Gulistan of the poet Sa’di was completed in 1583 in Fatehpur Sikri. It is noted not only for its exquisite paintings of birds and animals which decorate the pages of the text but also for its colophon portrait which depicts the eminent scribe Muhammad Husayn al-Kashmiri known as Zarrin Qalam (Golden Pen) and the artist, Manohara as a youth.

The Kitab-i Mathnawiyyat-i Zafar Khan is a beautifully illustrated autograph copy of the verses of Ahsanallah b. Abu 'l-Hasan, entitled Zafar Khan, written in Lahore in 1663.

All three manuscripts are available to view on Cambridge Digital Library: https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/ras

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