Anthology of Ḥakīm Ruknā Masīḥ


This diwan (a collection of poems in Arabic or Persian, usually by a single author) of Persian poems by physician and poet Ḥakīm Ruknā Masīḥ dates from 1638. “Ḥakīm” is an honorific for a wise man or physician. “Masīḥ” (the Christian), which appears elsewhere in the manuscript, was a pen name of the author. It is believed that the poems were dictated by the author to his calligrapher. The manuscript is in four sections, containing qasidas (odes), ghazals (lyric poems), rubaiyat (quatrains), and muqatta't (poetic fragments). The first two pages of each section show a gold field with a pattern of white clouds containing the verses. Each section opens with an illumination of a colored flower composition, with the titles written in white letters on a gold background, and text divided into two parts by a vertical band with а colored ornamentation. Each page is framed by a gold band with a blue outer rim. The colophon states that the manuscript was finalized on the 18th of the month of Shawal (Shaval) in the year 1047 AH at Dar al-Muminin of Kashan, in the Shikastah calligraphic style. The volume is bound in black leather, with red leather lining the inside covers. An imprint depicting cranes is embossed on the outsides and an imprint with a blue and gold ornament appears on the insides. The manuscript was given to the library of the University of Kharkov in 1904 by B.G. Filonov, a former student in the law school of the university, the first chairman of the executive board of the Kharkov Public Library (present-day Korolenko Kharkov State Scientific Library), a famous collector and patron of the arts in Kharkov.

Last updated: January 8, 2018