A Remarkable Persian Manuscript

Originally Published in 1930

View PDF

Page from the manuscript showing script in an upside down triangle
Plate VII — The Khamsah of Jami
Persian Manuscript Date 1487
Museum Object Number: NEP28
Image Number: 21642, 21643

ENGAGED by the Museum in describing its collection of Mohammedan Art, I found among the manuscripts a Persian item which, it seems to me, must he appreciated as an extremely valuable one. The Islamic manuscripts, Arabic, Persian, or Turkish, which are preserved in the great museums or libraries, as well as in private collections in this country and abroad, are usually copies only, written always much later than the original work. Often they were copied even many centuries after the death of the author. Copies belonging to the author’s lifetime are very rare.

The greatest Moslem mystic philosopher and scholar, and the last classic poet of Persia, Mulla Nur-ad-Din Ahdarrahman Jami, died on November 9, 1492. One of his most celebrated poetical works is called Khamsah or “The Quintet” for it contains five poems. Another title of it is Panj Ganj, i.e. “The Five Treasures.” These five poems were composed by Jami between 1481 and 1485. The earliest known copy of this Khamsah is the Jami’s own autograph dated 1485, in the Asiatic Museum (formerly the Institute of Oriental Languages) in Petrograd, Russia.

The Persian manuscript of the University Museum, which was mentioned above, is also the Khamsah of Jami. In the colophon, on the last written page [Plate VII], we read as follows: “finished by (the calligrapher) Mahmud ban (son of) Muhammad on 9 Rajah 892” (A.H. i.e. July I, 1487 A.D.). Thus our manuscript was written five years before the death of Jami and only two years later than the famous Petrograd autograph. [Contributed by Dr. Nicholas N. Martinovitch.-Ed.]

Cite This Article

"A Remarkable Persian Manuscript." Museum Bulletin I, no. 4 (April, 1930): 19-22. Accessed July 25, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/446/

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

Report problems and issues to digitalmedia@pennmuseum.org.