Isl. Ms. 854


Sikandarʻnāmah-i barrī,[1256?, i.e. 1840?].سکندر نامه بری,[1256ه؟, 1840م؟].


Niẓāmī Ganjavī,1140 or 41-1202 or 3.نظامي گنجوي.

Place/Date of Production:



198 leaves :paper ;267 x 162 (209 x 96) mm.


Fine copy of the opening part (Sharafʻnāmah or Iskandarʻnāmah-i barrī) of Niḍāmī's celebrated poetic account of the legend of Alexander the Great.

Other Title(s):

Iskandarnāmah.Sharafʻnāmahاسکندرنامه.شرفنامهTitle from inscription above opening on p.4.اسکندر نامهIskandarʻnāmahاسكندر نامهشرف نامهسکندرنامه بریسكندر نامه برى


Epic poetry, Persian--Early works to 1800.
Manuscripts, Persian--Michigan--Ann Arbor.
Alexander,--the Great,--356-323 B.C.--Poetry--Early works to 1800.


Headpieces (layout features)19th centuryIndia.aat




Ms. codex.
Title from colophon on p.393.


"خدایا جهان پادشاهی تراست زما خذمت [خدمت] آید خدائی تراست ..."


Can you help transcribe the explicit? Please comment!


"Scribal," reads "تمت تمام شد نسخه سکندر نامه بری در ماه سفر [صفر ؟] بتاریخ ١۴ ١٨٩۶ بید خط بنده احقر العباد محمد بخش ابن شیخ محمد عظیم مفتی ... در موضع بادپور تحریر یافت سنه ۱۲ ٥۶"


Can you help transcribe the dedication? Please comment!


Unidentified-Can you help supply this information? Please comment!

Physical Details:

24 IV (192), III (198) ; almost exclusively quaternions (followed by a ternion) ; opening and final leaf affixed to endpaper and trimmed ; middle of the quire marks in the form of oblique black strokes in the upper outer corner of the right-hand leaf and the lower outer corner of the left-hand leaf (from p.72-73, perhaps prior to that lost to trimming) ; catchwords present ; foliation in black ink, Hindu-Arabic numerals ; pagination in pencil, Western numerals (includes partial 'flyleaves' / free hinges).


Written in 18 lines per page, with written area divided to two columns ; frame-ruled.


Nastaʻlīq ; elegant Indian hand ; serifless with inclination to the right and slight effect of words descending to baseline, elongation and somewhat exaggerated thickness of horizontal strokes, mainly closed counters, yāʼ always pointed.


Headpiece (ʻunwān / sarlawḥ) at opening on p.4 consisting of rectangular piece (carrying the basmalah in black ink) set between decorative bands and surmounted by dome with vegetal design, mainly in red ; section headings rubricated ; some overlining in red ; written area surrounded by red double rule-border, divisions within also defined by red rules.


non-European (likely Indian) laid paper with roughly 7 laid lines per cm. (horizontal, somewhat indistinct, curving) and no chain lines clearly visible, quite cloudy formation, sturdy though thin and transluscent, light brown in color, burnished.


Pasteboards faced in untinted laid paper with red-brown leather over spine and edges / turn-ins (paper faced, leather-edged, framed binding), now fitted with light blue (faded to green-blue) custom textile jacket or detachable overcover, stitched to form a sleeve into which each covered board slips (see p.246-247, 453 in Julia Miller, Books will speak plain) ; Type III binding (without flap) ; board linings in untinted laid paper (some recycled) ; sewn in black and white thread (black and white threads twisted together), two stations ; heavy, worked chevron endbands in blue and cream, good condition ; overall in fairly good condition with some staining, abrasion, minor losses of cloth, etc. ; housed in box for protection.

Accompanying Materials:

a. Photocopy of card with typed notes "17302 | 865 Amritsor, India | 1 Indian manuscript book | Original no. -- K241. Persian Poetry; 1896; green cloth slip cover. | Univ. of Mich., Div. of Fine Arts | Walter Koelz, 1932-33 | March 19, 1934" -- b. Scrap of ruled paper with notes in pencil "Persian Poetry | Date 1896 | Aminpur (place) | copy of Nizami's Iskandar-name" -- c. Card with typed notes and additions in pen "K241 | 17302 | Indian [crossed out] Mogul (?) manuscript book, green cloth slip cover | Persian script | Amritsar." -- d. Short piece of white cotton cord with label attached "17302/K241" -- e. Slip of paper (once folded) with notes and stamp (between pp.206-207).

Former Shelfmarks:

Mich. Isl. Ms. temp. no. 3


As appears in colophon on p.393, copied by Muḥammad Bakhsh ibn Muḥammad ʻAẓīm [likely the same copyist who executed Isl. Ms. 852 in 1238/1822] with transcription completed in Ṣafar 1256 [?] [April 1840 ?, corresponding to 1896 in Vikram Samvat as likely suggested earlier in colophon] in Bādpūr [?].

Ownership and History:

Excerpts and former owners' marks on 'title page' (p.3), etc. ; numerous interlinear and marginal glosses.

Contributor(s) / Included work(s):

Unidentified-Can you help supply this information? Please comment!


07 Muḥammad Bakhsh ibn Muḥammad ʻAẓīm, fl. 1822, scribe. 07 محمد بخش ابن محمد عظيم, ناسخ.

Former Owner(s):

Unidentified-Can you help supply this information? Please comment!

In Collection:

Walter Koelz Manuscripts.


Cat. Pers. MSS. Brit. Mus.,p.568Miller, Julia. Books will speak plain : a handbook for identifying and describing historical bindings. Ann Arbor : The Legacy Press, 2010.

Images1 2

Posted by evyn on February 2, 2011
Tags: Fully Catalogued, Persian MSS, Walter Koelz MSS

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