A Preliminary Study of a Nineteenth-Century Persian Manuscript on Porcelain Manufacture in the Sipahsalar Library, Tehran

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Abstract

The Risāla dar tafṣīl-i sākhtan-i chīnī (A Treatise on Porcelain Manufacture) is a Qajar-period manuscript in Persian, housed at the Sipahsalar Library in Tehran. It is the only known source that details the modern technology of porcelain production in the Qajar era (1789–1925). According to the information in the colophon, the scribe, Masih ibn Muhammad Baqir al-Firuzabadi, completed the manuscript in the year 1284 (1868). The text mentions that it is the translation of a French work, but no further reference to the original book is given. The purpose of this essay is to introduce and review the Persian manuscript, to reveal its relation to the three-volume Traité des arts céramiques ou des poteries (Treatise on Ceramic Arts or Potteries) by Alexandre Brongniart, a nineteenth-century scientist and director of the Sèvres Porcelain Factory, and to underline its importance to the history of art and technology in Qajar Iran.

A Preliminary Study of a Nineteenth-Century Persian Manuscript on Porcelain Manufacture in the Sipahsalar Library, Tehran

in Muqarnas Online

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     Colophon of Risāla dar tafṣīl-i sākhtan-i chīnī, Tehran, Sipahsalar Library, MS 2833, fol. 61b. (Photo: courtesy of the Sipahsalar Library)
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    Details of folio 60b, lines 10–14, Risāla dar tafṣīl-i sākhtan-i chīnī, Tehran, Sipahsalar Library, MS 2833. (Photo: courtesy of the Sipahsalar Library, modified by Mahmoud Nader)
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     Folio 1a, Risāla dar tafṣīl-i sākhtan-i chīnī, Sipahsalar Library, MS 2833. (Photo: courtesy of the Sipahsalar Library)
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     Alexandre Brongniart. (After A. Brongniart, Arts céramiques, Paris, 1877)
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     Folio 60a, Risāla dar tafṣīl-i sākhtan-i chīnī, Tehran, Sipahsalar Library, MS 2833. (Photo: courtesy of the Sipahsalar Library)
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     Alexandre Brongniart, plate XLIII, “Fabrication de la porcelaine en Chine,” from the atlas (volume 3) of his treatise. (After A. Brongniart, Arts céramiques, Paris, 1877)

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