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Catalogue: Pharmaceutics

Blue arrow pointing to the right Zakhīrah-i Nizām-Shāhī   (MS P 5.1, item 1)
(The Treasure for Nizām-Shāh)
ذخيره نظام شاهى
by Rustam Jurjānī (mid 16th century)
رستم جرجانى

Rustam Jurjānī was court physician of Khan Ahmad Jilan and the Sultan Nizām-Shāh Burhan I (reg. 1508-53) in the city of Ahmadnagar in the Deccan, India. Rustam Jurjānī's encyclopaedia of material medica was undertaken in 1544/951 at the request of Sultan Nizām-Shāh in the city of Ahmadnagar in the Deccan, India, and it was completed three years later, in 1547/954 in the city of Dawlatabad.

The treatise is basically an amplified Persian translation of an unnamed work by Ibn al-Baytar, on simple medicaments, presumably either al-Mughni fi al-adwiyah al-mufradah or al-Jāmi‘ li-mufradat al-adwiyah wa-al-aghdhiyah (for the latter, see MS A 47). Rustam Jurjānī's version consists of twenty chapters (babs). The first nineteen present the medicaments according to the location of ailments, from head to foot. Within each chapter the medicaments are arranged in alphabetical order. The final chapter concerns both simple and compound remedies and as well as general principles such as weights and measures. It appears that some of these recipes are Rustam Jurjānī's contribution to what otherwise is a Persian version of Ibn al-Baytar.

Only one other copy is recorded: London, Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, Pers. MS 217, undated and apparently of the early 18th century (Feshavarz, "Wellcome", pp. 274-6 no. 130).

Physical Description

Persian. 315 leaves (fols. 1b-315a). Dimensions 32.4 x 18 (text area 26.5 x 13) cm; 36 lines per page. The author is given as Rustam Jurjānī on folio 1b, line 6. Title Zakhīrah-i Nizām-Shāhī is given on folio 1b, line 21; a later hand has written it at the top of folio 1b and the top of folio 1a.

According to the colophon (folio 315, lines 1-13), the copy was completed in the last ten days of the month of Dhu al-Qa‘dah 1159 (= 4-14 November 1746) by Ibn Muammad Ismā‘īl Zayn al-Dīn ‘Alī.

A complete copy.

The treatise opens (folio 1b, lines 6-11) with the statement that Rustam Jurjānī arrived in Deccan, in India, in the year 1544/951 and entered the circle of the court of Nizām-Shāh in the city of Ahmadnagar. In line 18 of the same folio Ibn al-Baytar is named as the source, and (line 19) it is stated that in Rustam Jurjānī completed it in the city of Dawlatabad in 1547/954 (dar ma‘murah-i bi nazir Dawlatabad).

The text is written in a small, very precise, professional naskh script, using black ink with headings in red. The text area has been frame-ruled. Black overlinings have been added later. There are red marginal section headings. At folio 149b the hand appears to change, with a pen of broader nip being used. There are catchwords.

The bottom half of folio 223a and top half of 223b, as well as spaces in various lines on 233a-234a, have been left blank, apparently intended for an illustration and rubricated headings.

The beige, semi-glossy, brittle paper has horizontal sagging laid lines and chain lines in what appear to be groups of 3's, though they are not always visible; no watermarks were observed. The paper is severely water-damaged at the top and less so along the sides. The paper is also soiled through thumbing. The leaves have been trimmed from their original size. The leaves towards the front and back of the volume have tears in them. There is evidence of several earlier attempt to repair tears and holes in the paper. The edges of several leaves have been recently repaired.

There are marginalia in several hands, including corrections of the text as well as recipes.

The volume consists of 315 leaves and one preliminary leaf. Fols. 1b-315 line13 (item 1) is the treatise by Rustam Jurjānī here catalogued. The lower half of folio 315a and all of 315b (item 2) is an incomplete copy of a Persian translation of Būr’ al-sā‘ah by al-Rāzī (MS P 5.1, item 2). Folio 1a has recipes written in several different hands in a casual script; there is also the impression of a square owner's stamp, of which only the name ‘Alī can be detected. The preliminary leaf (of different, watermarked, paper) is blank on one side with miscellaneous recipes, notes, and accounts on the other side, all added by later owners.


The volume is bound in brown leather over pasteboards. The spine (of lighter brown leather) is a replacement. There are brown leather doublures, much deteriorated. There are no endpapers.


The volume was purchased by the National Library of Medicine in May, 2001, from Pickering & Chatto.



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