The History of Iranian Cities through their Books: What Ms. Köprülü 01589 Tells Us about 8th/14th Century Shiraz

in Eurasian Studies
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Abstract

What can the history of books tell us about Iranian cities and their histories? This article introduces the manuscript of a multi-text compilation (majmūʿa) for the purpose of illustrating its potential usefulness as a source for studying the social and cultural history of Shiraz in the turbulent period that followed the collapse of Mongol rule in the area. We specifically seek to show that Köprülü 01589, now housed in Istanbul, helps us to see how books were produced and consumed, and provides insight into the operations of a busy workshop for copying texts. Despite the rarity and historical significance of several of the pieces that it contains, the availability of images of the manuscript for some time in Istanbul and Iran, and attention to it in catalogues, it has not received scholarly attention as a whole.1 Although this article is only a preliminary study of a single manuscript, we believe it is important for the current volume in showing what manuscripts can reveal of the social world that produced them, the networks of people and ideas that animated city life, and the cultural resources of specific times and places. Furthermore, our approach to Köprülü 01589 can be expanded and applied to other manuscripts originating in Shiraz and other cities.

The History of Iranian Cities through their Books: What Ms. Köprülü 01589 Tells Us about 8th/14th Century Shiraz

in Eurasian Studies

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Figures

  • View in gallery
    Köprülü 01589, folios 115v and 116r. The interior frame holds a version of a text called the Jāmāsb-nāma, which features horoscopes. Here, there are four. In the margin are two texts attributed to Ibn Sīnā, the first entitled Abṭāl aḥkām al-nujūm and the second Risāla fī ḥadd al-jism, with the latter title illuminated.
  • View in gallery
    Nasḫ with features of ta ʾlīq, from Köprülü 01589, folio 39v, containing the Ḫawāṣṣ al-Qurʾān by Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Saʿīd.
  • View in gallery
    Folio 242v of Köprülü 01589, on the right, contains verses by Kāšānī. The text written in the margins (a Kitāb fī’l furūsiyya wa’l-bayṭara, 213r-242v) ran longer than expected and required that additional material be written in the main text, to make the page look complete. On 243r, on the left, a new bundle begins with Nāṣir al-Dīn Ṭūṣī’s Aḫlāq-i Nāṣirī.
  • View in gallery
    Hamidiyye 01447, ff. 64v-65r, has similar features and dates. The illuminated title on folio 65r, bottom left, is for a Sīrat Ibn Sīna, and is in a style consistent with Köprülü 01589 and Injuid manuscripts in general, especially as concerns the floral motif. See Wright, The Look of the Book, and her discussion of Ilkhanid origins: pp. 19-30.
  • View in gallery
    Hamidiyye 01447, ff. 154v-155r. The layout and illumination of Hamidiye 01447 resembles that of Köprülü 01589. Compare with Image 3, above.
  • View in gallery
    Texts attributed to Ibn Sīnā
  • View in gallery
    Sufi Texts
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