> The IFRI Collection
> Emmanuelle Gracin Collection
> Robinson Deschamps Collection

The IFRI Collection------------

The Iranian scholar Muhammad Taqî Dâneshpajûh published a hand list of the mss of the Institute in Râhnamâ-ye Ketâb, 21 (1357): 328-338 & 669-684.

The collection consists of 54 mss, most of them copied in the XIXth century. The main subjects are philosophy, theology, alchemy and history.

Besides its intrinseque interest, the collection of the IFRI beholds a particular historical aspect for the French orientalist research, its mss having served for the writing of many important works. Thus some mss still conserve the pencil marks made by Henri Corbin in course of his researches on Persian philosophy and mystique.

Subjects of special interest

One of the remarquable pieces of the collection is an album of 35 photographies showing personalities of the qadjar political life.

Historians will certainly be attracted by questions surrounding the choice of individuals, their order inside the album, for whom it was done and how it entered the French collection.

But first of all, this bibliophile album is a remarquable pedagogical tool for the teaching of Persian history, enabling to visualise the authors of this History.

All of the photographs can be studied in the «Manuscript Heritage» collection.

A very interesting document is a ms featuring over fifty folios a list of the worlds history most remarquable people, with dates on their birth, ascension to power, length of reign and death time.

Classified by chronological order, the ms mentions biblical individuals or belonging to the Persian mythology, the historical Sassanid kings, Mongols, Tatars and Turks and the philosophers of the Antique Greece.

The ms is part of a long tradition, for which the historian Tabari stands as an illustrious representative, but it goes further and includes data on the Chinese kings, Indian, Yemeni, Jews, Pharaons, Byzantines, Macedonians, Roman Cesars, Francs and English kings!

It finishes by accounts of some highligth events, such as the construction of the Great Wall in China and the Aya Sophia basilica.

The chronological tables are fully reproduced by «Manuscript Heritage».

(Cf. Denise Aigle, «Les tableaux du Muntakhab al-tavârîkh-î mu'înî : une originalité dans la tradition historiographique persanne», Studia Iranica, 21.1(1992):64-86.)

This is an alchemical treatise, which importance - beside teaching us how to extract the gold - comes from its subject being presented in verses and its language full of astrological allegories.

The ms contains the minutes of an imaginary disputation between the Wise of Thought (shaîkh-e 'aql) and the partisans of the Sultan of Affect (sultân-e 'eshq).

The ms is entirely reproduced (98 folios).

A big book of magic, in a script which from a paleographical point of view cannot but be diabolical!

Drawings serving as explanations to theological questions.

M52, M53, M54
Traditional Persian wedding contracts, shaped like firmans, with birds and flowers in the borders.

Codicological interest

M41 & M43
Mss with multiple dates.

The only ms of the collection bearing an illumination has a fake one, the sâr-lawh being cut out of another ms, then pasted in this one.

Palaleographical interest

A most particular script (Central Asia?) - which proves that the naskh writings family is indeed a paleographical 'pot-pourri'.

M1 - fancy titlings
M2 - very beautiful small naskh writing
M31 - nice shikaste-nasta'lîq produced with a fountain pen
M33 - a not so bad naskh...
M46 - a beautiful small size naskh


This ms is the origin of an exemplar story.

It is known that the life of calligraphers are often 'embellished'. So it happens that their work conditions are presented as pathetically pitiful. For example it is sad that the calligrapher was bound by his poverty to live at the last floor of the house, which was the most hot in summer and the most cold in winter, without even having direct access to the street and its potential customers.

I was just coming back from such an evocations made by a collectionner, when in the evening, cataloguing the M10 ms, I crossed the lamentations of the scribe (colophon, fol. 77 r°), accompanied by this detail stating that he was living in the 'superior room'...

Collection Emmanuelle Garcin------------

The ms of this collection is a compendium of devinettes and their answers, most of them on religious and historical subjects. A point of theory regarding the types of possible devinettes and another, historical, about some individuals important for this art, are recorded inside one of the three compendiums which make up the work.

The copyist is a certain Bukhârî, indicating how important indeed this city was for the production of enigmas.

Collection Robinson Deschamps------------

Not part of the collection (the ms is maghrebi, not Persian), the work catalogued and reproduced here entirely is a beautiful example of the richness of colors used by nord-african scribes and the survival of graphical features since long extinct elsewhere, like the Mamluk tear-drop shaped serifs or the XIth century leftward bend alifs.