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Aisn xxx imdes

Imagine being a position to commission a magnificent one-volume selection of the reading matter you would most like to carry around on your travels – a kind of miniature personal library.

With no expense spared, you could order the most skilful calligraphers in the land to write it, the best painters to illustrate it, the best illuminators to decorate it, the best binders to bind it…

Iskandar was an enthusiastic and discerning patron of the arts and learning, and a number of the exquisite Persian manuscripts produced for him have survived. Thanks to a generous grant from the Andor Trust, selected folios from the London volume are now available to view and study, with notes and a number of translated extracts, as a ʻTurning the Pagesʼ presentation.

Amongst the most remarkable of these are his two Miscellanies, one of which is preserved at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon (MS. The opening of Timur’s grandson Iskandar Sultan’s pocket encyclopedia containing 23 works.

546 folios), in the hope of doing justice, as far as possible, to the quality and wide variety of texts, decorative designs, and images.

For a detailed catalogue description with links to the individual works and paintings see Description of Add. For present purposes, therefore, it will suffice to mention some of their interesting features, with a brief discussion of a few pages by way of example.The poetical texts in the first half of the Miscellany all consist of parts or the whole of well-known lengthy works in (‘Epic of Alexander the Great’), Alexander and his servant witness the enchanting and innocent spectacle of young girls bathing together at night in a pool out in the wilds.Because the new binding is undecorated, for ‘Turning the Pages’ the covers from a different manuscript were used instead.The texts chosen by the royal patron and/or his advisers could hardly have been more miscellaneous.

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Those in the first half of our volume were copied by Muḥammad al-Ḥalvā’ī, and the remainder by Nāṣir al-Kātib; their work is dated 813-814/1410-1411.