Lot 16
  • 16

Persian Collectanea, Five Works in One Volume, [Persia: ca. 1800]

5,000 - 7,000 USD
5,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • printed book
129 folios (7 3/4 x 5 3/4 in.; 200 x 145 mm). Written in black ink on paper in Persian semicursive Hebrew script; headings in square Hebrew script. Decorative floral motifs in red, yellow and blue gouache, for initial word panels, and tailpieces: ff. 1r,32r, 45v, 61v, 81v, 103r, 110v, 119r, and 129v; some sections with numerous decorative accents and highlights, most as green flowers. Dampstaining to first half of volume, affecting text, with losses at ff. 1, 32; elsewhere marginal, not affecting text. Sections browned. Soiled and stained; marginal tears. Hinges cracked; textblock precarious within boards. Owner's notation on front free endpaper. Contemporary goat; trace diapered; corners and spine reinforced. Severe wear; distressed.

Catalogue Note

A decorated Judeo-Persian manuscript collectanea comprising five works; copied by the well-known Jewish Persian poet and master-scribe Manasseh ben Solomon, also known as Jani Kashmiri, who flourished between 1790-1820. The title-pages and several end-pages are decorated with intricate watercolor floral motifs.


Folios 1r-32r. Pirkei Avot [Ethics of the Fathers] with a Judeo-Persian Tafsir (translation) by Siman-Tov Melammed, a poet and philosopher;  born in Yazd, Persia in the mid-eighteenth century, Melammed lived for a time in Herat, Afghanistan and later served as head of the Jewish community in Meshed, Persia, where he passed away in the 1820's. In addition to the two works which appear in the present manuscript, he composed poetry in Persian, Hebrew, and Aramaic, as well as a philosophical work, Sefer Hayyat al-Rukh.

Folios 32r-34r: Torat Aziz Zadras Karsi, by David ben Eleazar Bakuda. This is a Judeo-Persian translation of Imun Yom Zeh, the reshut which precedes ibn Gabirol's Azharot for Shavuot.

Ff. 34r-61: Solomon ibn Gabirol's Azharot with the Judeo-Persian translation by Samuel Pir Ahmed, a renowned Jewish poet.

Ff. 61v-102v: Siman-Tov Melammed's Azharot for Shavuot, in Judeo-Persian and Hebrew.

Ff. 103r-119r: Another Judeo-Persian translation of ibn Gabirol's Azharot, composed in 1732 by Benjamin ben Mishael, one of the most prolific Jewish poets in Persia.

Ff. 119r-129r: Tafsir Akedat Yitzhak, on the Binding of Isaac by Benjamin ben Mishael, based on an earlier piyyut‘Et Sha’arei Ratzon, by Judah Samuel Abbas.

Sothebys is grateful to Dr. Benjamin Richler for providing information which aided in the cataloging of this lot.