Digital Persian Archive (Asnad.org)

Marriage contract between Mirza ‘Ali Aqa Haqiqi and Bibi Rukhsarah.

Digital Persian Archives project is an online archival image database containing thousands of public and private historical documents from Iran and Central Asia up to the 20th century. It includes royal decrees and orders, official correspondence, and shari’a court documents, such as contracts of sale and lease, vaqf deeds, marriage contracts, and court orders.

This project initially was launched in 2003 and by Department of Islamic Studies at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and it was called Asnad.org. however, after years of progress and improvement by various departments, in 2019 it was moved to the University of Bamberg where it is under the supervision of the Chair of Iranian Studies.

The main goal of Digital Persian Archives project is to facilitate locating and accessing primary resources and archival material. Therefore, to do so virtual archive of Persian documents has been created as a searchable database. Materials can be searched by particular period or region, specific person, topic or location.

Marriage contract between Hajji Muhammad Zaman ‘Allaf and Sakinah Sultan. 18 Sha’ban 1317 / 22.12.1899 – 22.12.1899

 

A wide range of documents have been included in this project from medieval and early modern periods up to 20th century of Iranian and Central Asian history, factoring in “the older, the more precious” and the quality and readability of the documents in selection criteria. However, as for the language and geographical scope of this project, Persian is rather representing a cultural characteristic than a rigid linguistic specification. The same way Persia was understood in its historical and geographical sense, therefore documents in other languages like Arabic were included, when the connection to Persian cultural influence was clear. Their geographical selection criteria were outlined as below:

“The same is true for the geographical range we seek to cover. The core areas are defined by the shifting historical boundaries of Iran, thus including at times regions such as Anatolia, the Caucasus and Middle Asia. Another criterion is the use of Persian as administrative language as in Central Asia or India, although the systematic integration of Indian documents is beyond the project’s scope.” (Selection criteria)

Sultanmuhammad b. Janmuhammad Bayg sold two pieces of land to Imamvirdi Khan Qiriqlu [Afshar] which are located in Abivard near Mashhad for the amount of 70 Tuman; contract includes a musalahah; Imamvirdi Khan was among the generals of Nadir Shah and for some time held the office of Nazir-i buyutat-i khassah. Date: 25 Jumada II 1156 / 16.8.1743 – 16.8.1743

Marriage contract (‘aqd-i munakihah) between Aqa ‘Abd al-Rahim b. Aqa ‘Ali Baba und Jahan Sultan bt. Aqa Muhammad … ‘Assar (oil-presser) Date: 18 Rajab 1295 / 18.7.1878 – 18.7.1878

Call for contribution in the form of translation@ Museum With No Frontier

If in the face this pandemic you are staying home and have more time on your hands, If despite all this you are still passionate about culture, art and history, If you too believe that art, culture and cultural heritage should be accessible to everyone as much as possible, If you were looking for an opportunity to contribute for a good cause, But more importantly, If you can translate from English to Arabic, then this post is probably for you.

 

Mueseum With No Frontier (MWNF) has launched a campaign to have more of their museum and exhibitions related content translated into Arabic, in order to give greater access to art and culture to more people from around the world.

 

“We are in need of support to translate more of our database to Arabic so those in Arab countries and beyond can access our online Explore Islamic Art Collections and other exhibitions.”

If interested, contact them at: office@museumwnf.net

Brief background about Museum With No Frontier:

MWNF was founded as an independent non-profit organization in 1995 on the initiative of Eva Schubert. MWNF program is a collaboration between public and private partners from all over the world and its main activities consist of “MWNF Virtual Museum and related MWNF Galleries and the MWNF Exhibition Trails and related books and travel program.”

MuseumWNF is determined to link cultures via a diversified knowledge of history, heritage and culture encourage practicing peaceful coexistence. Moreover, part of their mandate is cooperation with the Arab world and promoting Islamic art.

“Contributing to better knowledge of Arab countries and cooperating with Arab partners on educational and cultural tourism projects has been an MWNF priority since its foundation. Since 2010 MWNF has had a partnership with the League of Arab States to promote awareness of the Arab world’s history and cultural legacy through joint projects.”

More information about MWNF can be found here.

There is also volunteer opportunities for native-language translators to help with translations:
English to Arabic
English to Spanish
German to English
Spanish to English

For more information click here and here

MWNF on Facebook, Twitter, Instgram.

Persian Heritage magazine

Persian Heritage Magazine is an independent, non-political, non-governmental publication first published in 1996 by Shahrokh Ahkami, the Editor.

Persian heritage is a quarterly publishing magazine about culture and history of Iran. It is trying to respond to its readers’ need -Iranian outside of Iran- by keeping them informed with update information on the richness and diversity of Iranian culture and heritage, as well as to facilitate inter-cultural interaction by reaching to those non-Persians yet interested in Persian heritage.

 

 

Therefore every issue of the magazine is being published in Farsi and English and covers various topics from Arts and culture (miniature, poetry,etc.) to prehistoric findings in Iran as well as reviewing recent exhibition in or about Iran’s history and culture.

 

 

This magazine is published by Persian Heritage, INC. The online version is freely accessible.

Oriental Manuscripts @ SLUB

The Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) is a research library in Germany and its Oriental Manuscript collection houses a great collection of 448 Islamic manuscripts. The collection of Ottoman manuscripts was acquired by the library in the 18th and 19th century. This collection also consists of Tibetan and Mongolian as well as Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Sanskrit, Hebraic and Ethiopian manuscripts.

Some of the manuscripts in this collection are unique in terms of integrity of the item or rarity of its content for example. Below is the list of few items that was introduced as “Extraordinary Volumes” by the SLUB along with a description of the manuscript and a link to its digitized version.

 

Kitab-i Dede Korkut (Mscr.Dresd.Ea.86): The only fully preserved manuscript narrating national epic of the Oguzes, a nomadic Turkish tribe.

Mulana Fuzûli, Benk u Bâde (Mscr.Dresd.Eb.362): An Ottoman poem, written on rose paper, narrating a dispute about rank between wine and hash (cannabis).

Kemāl Paša-Zāde: Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân (Mscr.Dresd.Eb.391): The story of the Ottomans in a two-volume manuscript with 25 depictions of cities, fortifications and harbor facilities.

Seyyid Loqmān, Qiyā-fet al-insānīyeh fī shemā’il othmanīyeh (Mscr.Dresd.Eb.373): Book of the Ottoman Characteristics, containing 12 portraits of Turkish sultans.

Machsor mecholl haschana (Mscr.Dresd.A.46.a): Jewish prayer book for the High Holidays, in Southern German handwriting from the end of the 13th century.

Moreoverو “Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum orientalium Bibliothecae Regiae Dresdensis”, is the inventory of most of Islamic manuscripts except the new acquisitions. This index was published in Leipzig in 1831 by Heinrich Leberecht Fleischer (1801-1888) and is available from here diglib.hab.de/wdb.php

A manuscript from Morocco, Al-Zahrāwīsur’s 30th manuscript volume: ‘Surgery’

In the Umayyad era, during the 11th century, Al-Zahrāwī, H̱alaf ibn ‘Abbās Abū al-Qāsim, known in the west as Abulcasis (936-1013?), was a distinguished Andalusian Arabic physician. One of his most well known contribution in the field of medicine is an encyclopaedia called “Al-Taṣrīf liman ‘aǧiza ‘an al-Ta’līf”.  This masterpiece comprises of thirty books covering various medical topics, starting with general medical information, continues with theories, pharmacology, diagnosis, therapeutics and ends with surgery and instruments.

This manuscript is housed at the Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc (BNRM) (National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco).  Volume 30th  of this work, the manuscript about surgery, is the most important and the highlight of this document and the reason to its world significance.

What is particularly interesting about this last part of Al-Zahrāwīsur’s work is that, it is a unique heritage to humanity because of its script, antiquity, colored drawings, Andalusian calligraphy and its historical values “as it is to the best of our knowledge, the oldest in the world: AH 610/1213”.

Moreover, what makes this manuscript so exceptional and irreplaceable, is because it is considered to be the first work in the history of surgery to provide surgical explanations and instruments all illustrated in colour. All these values made this document to be a good candidate to be listed as a World Documentary Heritage on UNESCO’ Memory of the World Programme registry, in 2016 it was nominated by Morocco and was inscribed in 2017.

The values of this manuscript:

– It is devoted entirely to the subject of surgery.

– It has influenced the work of surgeons in both the East and West for several centuries.

– It is an important reference to the surgical profession.

– It is the first work in surgical history to provide illustrations and explanations of surgical instruments, many of which were invented by al-Zahrāwīsur himself.

– It has been translated into several languages.

 

“Due to its great importance, this book has, for five centuries, remained part of the surgery programmes at the Universities of Salerne and Montpellier.”

Moreover, besides its World Significance, some historical values add up to the importance of this manuscripts:

The author of the manuscript is a perfect reflection of his time. The period in which al- Zahrāwī studied medicine in Cordoba coincides with the rise of Arabic Medicine as represented by these great physicians: Ibn Sina in Isfahan, Al Baghdadi in Damascus, Ibn an Nafis and Ibn Abi Usaybia in Cairo, Ishaq Ibn Imran and Ibn Al Jazza in Kairouan and the renowned Averroes and Abulcasis (al-Zahrāwī) in Cordoba, of Tolido, Seville and Zaragoza, the last of whom rapidly distinguished himself in the field of surgery.

Related materials/sources available at McGill Library can be found here.

Consult resource: Manuscript’s Nomination Form on Memory of the World Programme.

Digital collection @ National Library and Archive of Iran

National library and Archive of Iran (NLAI) is located in Tehran and was launched officially in 1937 but its collection dates back 150 years.

The present National Library of Iran houses many different collections from older libraries, including many rare and valuable manuscripts such as large numbers of manuscripts, old printed books, old itineraries from European tourists, documents, rare periodicals and materials in non-print forms.

The library is an educational, research, and service institution, aiming to acquire, organize and disseminate information published or produced in Iran or in the fields of Iranology and Islamic study in other countries. NLAI provides access to part of its massive collection through the Digital Collection, which consists of various collections of Manuscripts, lithograph, dissertations, newspapers, photographs, maps, documents and printed books.

Ajam Media Collective

We aim to re-imagine publishing, telling new stories of West Asia and its diasporas through essays and emerging research.

Launched in 2011, Ajam Media Collective is an online forum designed to highlight representations of West Asia within Western media.

Ajam started as a blog for graduate students with an interest in West Asia. This is the collective effort of five people from different fields, ranging from academia to filmmaking, music and journalism. By employing diverse skills and knowledge, they provide greater access to the more complex and nuanced discussions and debates within in the academy in the region, which they refer to as Ajamistan. The underlining premise is that this region, while part of the Middle East, is under-represented in Western and online media.

Ajam in Arabic means ‘otherness’ and for this reason the term ‘Ajamistan’ was coined to refer to a geographical area from Turkey in the West and to Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan and South Asia in the East. A common thread among these countries is the influence of Persianate culture and heritage present during the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal eras until the 18th to 19th centuries. In addition, since Persian was the language of culture and literature, these countries were influenced and continue to reflect various elements of Persianate culture.

 

“Ajam Media Collective is committed to uniting authors from various backgrounds and disciplines to promote diverse critical views on culture, politics, and society, emphasizing the region’s importance as a thriving cultural center whose multiple realities are too often obscured by the popular Western and global media.”

 

Therefore, this online platform focusses on covering cultural and society related matters in this region, as well as shedding light on contemporary and historical issues via informed analysis, by offering semi-scholarly resources from academics, activists and student input. Ajam also provides access to contemporary research and debates in various topics, such as, Urban Geography, Cinema, Gender Studies, literature, history and others.

Moreover, in order to offer a holistic insight and to cover the respective topics comprehensively, a diverse range of formats are used to present various topics and insights, such as podcasts, longer essays of film analysis, photo essays, blog articles and music. This vast range of information can be accessed by region as well.

Iran and Persian Studies Dissertation

Iran and Persian Studies @ Dissertation Reviews, highlight the latest researches that have been done in the form of doctoral dissertation which are not published yet from all across the world in the field of Iranian and Persian studies.

Dissertation Reviews, provides over 1000 overviews of recently defended but unpublished doctoral dissertation in Humanities and Social Sciences. The goal is to help readers have access to and stay informed about the latest research that has been done in a wide variety of topics.

Dissertation Reviews consists of advisory board of reviewers form universities from all over the world, which contribute reviews to doctoral dissertation in various topics of Iran and Persian Studies, Islamic Studies, South Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Studies and etc.

“Each review provides a summary of the author’s main arguments, the historiographic genealogy in which the author operates, and the main source bases for his or her research. The reviews are also anticipatory, making educated assessments of how the research will advance or challenge our understanding of major issues in the field when it is revised and published in the future.”

This platform provides a great support for academic community not only by publishing non-critical reviews of the recently defended dissertation, but also authors often receive private critical reviews which helps them revising their work before publishing their books.

Dissertation Reviews is a great resource to follow the most recent research topics from all corner of the world. It can be find on social media via: Facebook and Twitter

 

 

Persian Language Textbooks @Islamic Studies Library, McGill University

In this post, two Persian language textbooks will be introduced, they both can be accessed at Islamic Studies Library of McGill.

Persian In Use is an elementary Persian language and culture textbook for learners at college level and is written by Anousha Sedighi and published at Leiden University press.

This book is designed thematically and offers 10 lessons starting with Alphabet and sound system, covering both written and spoken varieties. Persian In Use offers more than 1200 words and phrases covering highly in use slang, proverbs and idioms; as well as simple explanations of the grammatical features. The daily interactive dialogues provided in this book, help students to learn about contemporary Persian language usage. Literary texts, poems plays, film scripts, and pop songs are offered along with cultural notes. Persian In Use’s goal is to teach and improve learner’s communication skills therefore it provides all four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students can access to audio materials from companion website: https://sites.google.com/a/pdx.edu/persian-in-use/Audio-Files/lesson-1.

Persian In Use can be found on the library catalogue from here.

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The Routledge Persian course: Farsi Shirin Ast is a Persian language textbook in two part of  (Introductory and Intermediate) and is written by Pouneh Shabani Jadidi and Dominic Prviz Brookshaw. This book is designed mainly for teaching Persian language at university level, though it is a user-friendly language book.

Teaching approach of the book is focused on communicative competence as oppose to the traditional approach of focusing on development of grammatical competence in learning a second language. To achieve its goal the book offers 15 lessons. Each starts with a question as a title followed by new vocabulary and a dialogue (Introductory level) or a text (Intermediate level). Grammatical points are explained and some exercises are offered at the end of each lesson. Audio materials are accessible through companion website Introductory, Intermediate.

Islamic Studies Library of McGill owns these books and they can be found on the catalogue from here for the Introductory and here for the intermediate one.

Chester Beatty Digital Collections

Chester Beatty Digital Collections gives access to part of remarkable treasures that are housed at Chester Beatty library In Ireland. This collection is a database of digitized artworks and manuscripts from different part of the world and includes Persian, Islamic, Turkish and Arabic collection.  These invaluable collections of manuscripts was gathered by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968) one of the greatest collector of the twentieth century and a friend to Ireland.

Opening folio from a Qur’an, illuminated by Muhammad ibn Aybak in Baghdad. This full-page illumination marks the beginning of a superb Qur’an volume produced in Baghdad. It is from a thirty-volume set, now dispersed in international collections or lost. Four of the known volumes contain the signature of the renowned illuminator Muhammad ibn Aybak ibn `Abdullah, who also recorded the date and that he was working “in the City of Peace, Baghdad”. From these inscriptions, Ibn Aybak’s work schedule becomes clear: he completed volume two in April 1303, ten in February 1305, and thirteen in October 1305, producing an illuminated volume approximately every three months. Folio from a Qur’an, colours and gold on paper, illuminated frontispiece panel with geometric design of central radiating star with quarter-stars repeated in the four corners, and hasp ornament on right margin, right half of a double-page composition, illumination by Muhammad ibn Aybak, opening folio from volume 25 of a 30-volume Qur’an (volume 25 codex is in Tehran Iran Bastan Museum, 3350),

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty was a young mining engineer in New York with huge interest in collecting European, Persian manuscripts, Chinese snuff bottles and Japanese netsuke. It was in 1914 and during a family trip to Egypt that the Islamic manuscript fascinated him so he expanded his collection to include rare books, richly illustrated material, fine bindings and calligraphy. Beatty’s exceptional collection developed over his life time, it comprises of remarkable Islamic, East Asian and biblical manuscripts, important Persian, Turkish, Armenian and Western European holdings as well as Burmese, Thai and Nepalese manuscripts, and is housed in the grounds of Dublin Castle.

Manuchihr pursuing his father’s murderer Tur, from the Book of Kings (Shahnama) by Firdausi

“The Chester Beatty Library is a public charitable trust established under the will of the late Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, who left his Collections in the care of a Trust for the benefit of the Irish people.”

The Beatty’s collection is a great resource for scholars and researchers as well as a cultural attraction for visitors from Ireland and from all around the world, part of which is available online through digital collection.

In 2017, the Chester Beatty started digitizing its collection with the help of digital photographers and a team of museum experts. Each item of this collection has a catalogue record and an informative description to the item. The digital collection is a searchable database; however, it is a growing database therefore it is useful to visit it from time to time.

Two horsemen aiming their lances, from Manual on the Arts of Horsemanship (Nihayat al-su’l wa al-umniya fi ta‘allum ‘amal al-furusiyya) by al-Aqsara’i