Czech Republic - The Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the National Library of the Czech Republic

The collection of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books of the National Library has 150 volumes of Persian manuscripts.

© National Library of the Czech Republic
Khamse-ye Nizámí

While the collection is quite varied in content, works of poetry predominate. There are collections of poetry (Díwáns) by many Persian authors, both famous and lesser-known poets whose names will not be found in classical overviews of Persian literature. In addition, there are anthologies of Persian poetry, literary biographies (Ádhar), and papers or letters (munsha'át) by famous Persian authors as well as volumes containing the classical works of Sufi literature, tadhkiras (stories from the lives of poets), and prose. 

The oldest manuscript dates from 792 A.H. (Nizámí, No. 114); the most recent from the start of the 20th century. Their size ranges a few pages to over 1,000. Many contain bookplates (exlibris) on front pages or stamps of previous possessors (for example, there is a book from Muhammad 'Alí's library). Bindings may be original, leather, painted, and decorated with gold (from the Qájár period), or Ottoman rebindings. Most of the books were written on the territory of present day Iran, but there are volumes from the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia, or India. 

The collection reflects aesthetical variety according to the literary genre. The first two pages are usually decorated - sometimes with few lines, sometimes with splendid and elaborated ornaments in gold. Several manuscripts contain miniatures which ranges from 1 to 62 miniatures in one volume. Some Turkish manuscripts are written in Persian, as are some Persian manuscripts written in Turkish and Arabic.

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