Eleazar Birnbaum


This collection, consisting of 33 works in 21 physical volumes and one single page document, is remarkable for the high proportion of rare and early manuscripts. They cover a wide range of subjects, including history, literature, Islam, ethics, language and lexicography, encyclopedia, astrology, etc. The manuscripts include Hasht bihisht, a history of the Ottoman Empire and dynasty, copied shortly after Idrīs Bidlīsī (d. 1520) composed it in the early 16th century; Ḥadāʾiq al-siḥr, a treatise on rhetoric by Rashīd al-Dīn Vaṭvāṭ, copied in the late 12th or early 13th century; a rare treatise on riddles by Muʿammāʾī Mīr Ḥusayn (d. 1499) of Herat, dedicated to Mīr ʿAlī Shīr Navāʾī, and here copied shortly after its composition; part of an unknown encyclopedic work, copied ca. 13th century; Kūshyār b. Labbān’s Kitāb al-Ikhtiyārāt on astrology, copied ca. 13th century; a fragment of a Qurʾān with interlinear translation in Persian, ca. 13th century; etc. Each manuscript is described in detail. The manuscripts were acquired at various dates between 1958 and 1991, mostly in London and Istanbul.