Oriental Manuscripts

The Ancient India and Iran Trust has a small collection of oriental manuscripts, most of which were collected by Sir Harold Bailey in the late 1930s and 40s.

The largest group is the collection of Persian manuscripts which number 72 volumes. These were listed in a preliminary handlist by Maria Szuppe (“A preliminary account of the Persian manuscripts in the collection of the late Sir Harold W Bailey,” Iran 35 (1997): 93-101). The collection includes an illustrated copy of Firdawsi’s Shahnamah, copied in Samarkand in 1604 (Pers. 2.01. BD), and a beautifully illuminated copy of the Masnavi by Jalal al-Din Rumi, copied in Herat in 1612 (Pers. 2.20. BD).

Armenian Ms 10 “Brief miscellany for the needs of philologists.” by Movses ǰułayec’i 17-18th century, written for the benefit of philologists as opposed to wise men and scholars

The collection also includes 11 Armenian, 11 Arabic, and a small number of Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu, Malay, Burmese, Pashto, Turkish and Urdu manuscripts. These are in the process of being catalogued.

The Armenian manuscripts are described in Vrej Nersessian’s union catalogue: A catalogue of the Armenian manuscripts in the British Library acquired since the year 1913 and of collections in other libraries in the United Kingdom. 2 vols. London: British Library, 2012 (shelfmark AIIT.a.975). Details of the Tibetan manuscripts can be found in the online Catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts and blockprints.