NLR Online Exhibitions

Academician-Arabist Ignaty Krachkovsky: his Collection of Oriental Manuscripts in the National Library of Russia

O. V. Vasilyeva

Manuscripts in Other Languages

Works in Persian form the second largest portion of Krachkovsky's collection after Arabic: there are 34 of them, both individual volumes and parts of numerous miscellanies originating from Iran and Central Asia.

Hafez. Diwan (a collection of poems). In Persian. 19th century
Husayn ibn Ali al-Waiz al-Kashifi.  Anwar-e Sohaili (Lights of Canopus)

First of all, these are famous works of Persian literature, such as collections of poems (diwans) by Hafiz (Кр. 73) and Bidil (Кр. 66), Lights of Canopus (Anwar-i Sohaili) – a recension of the Indian collection of fables Kalīla wa-Dimna by Husayn ibn Ali al-Waiz al-Kashifi (Кр. 39), Four Books by Attar, including Pand-Nāma (Кр. 67). Let us also note the poem-masnavi The Path of the Pious (Maslak al-muttaqīn) by Sufi Allahyar about the ritual duties of Muslims (Кр. 71) and a work in verse on the history of the Djanides (or Astrakhanides) by Mirza Muhammad Sadiq Munshi Jandari (Кр. 68, fols. 99–112 v.) in a miscellany of diverse content.

Several grammatical works are included in one volume (Кр. 37), a small Persian-Arabic dictionary is a part of a collection dating 1536–1542 (Кр. 32, fols. 142-147).

Sufi hagiography is represented by two works: Beads of Dew from the Source of Life (Rashahat ain al-hayat) (Кр. 38) and The Virtues of the al-Ghawthiyya Tariqat (Manakib-i gawsiyya) by al-Muhammad Shihabi Sa'di Qadiri (Кр. 69, fols. 58 v. – 138). The latter work is a part a miscellany along with several others, including hikmats - small poems from two Diwans by Ahmad Yasawi in the Old Uzbek language (Кр. 69, fols. 144–192 v.). A moralizing Sufi work in the form of masnavi by an unknown author (Кр. 72) was also written in the same Turkic language.

The collection includes two non-Muslim books: the Ethiopian Gospel of John – the only manuscript on parchment, the traditional writing material of Ethiopia (Кр. 78), and the Psalms of David, translated into Yiddish, transcribed by Philip Christian Reichart. The Psalms are preceded by the text of the amulet in Arabic, and as Krachkovsky notes, "under the amulet is a copy of the signature of the famous Ahmet Resmi, who was an envoy to Prussia" (Кр. 77).

Psalms. In Yiddish. 18th century.
Gospel of John. In Ethiopian. 19th century
Gospel of John. In Ethiopian. 19th century

More information about the Krachkovsky collection can be found in the electronic catalogue prepared by Victoria Kalenova