Memorial of Calligraphers


Taz̲kirat al-khaṭṭāṭīn (Memorial of calligraphers) is a book of verse in the mathnawi form. This type of poetry is based on a scheme of individually rhyming couplets and is used in many important works of Persian literature. The author, Muhammad Idris Khvajah Raji Bukhari (died 1919 or 1920), was a literary figure in the fabled city of Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan), capital of the Emirate of Bukhara. As the title of the book suggests, the work belongs to the tazkira (memorial) genre, and Raji Bukhari includes in it the names of the Bukharan calligraphers of his day and short accounts of their life and work. These miniature biographical sketches are preceded by an extended and whimsical description of the art of calligraphy itself, and of the various proportions and shapes of the Persian alphabet. Raji Bukhari concludes his work with a list of short references to various branches of knowledge, including logic and grammar. The manuscript, in a nastaʻliq script, was copied in 1908‒9, possibly in Afghanistan. The scribe, Katib Kuchak Bukhari, notes that he based his text on the divan (or collected works) of Raji Bukhari. Bukhara came under the control of the Russian Empire in the second half of the 19th century. In 1920, following the Russian Revolution of 1917, it was declared the Bukharan People’s Soviet Republic. It subsequently became part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.

Last updated: September 30, 2016