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Catalogue: Pharmaceutics

Blue arrow pointing to the right Kitāb ifz al-iah   (MS P 25, margin)
(The Book on the Maintenance of Health)
كتاب حفظ الصحة

This is an anonymous Persian treatise on medicaments, presented in alphabetical order, and on various aspects of regimen and the maintenance of health. It has been written as a marginal text by the same copyist who transcribed the medical poetry in the central portions of each folio.

No other copies have been identified.

Physical Description

Persian. 160 leaves (fols.2a-195a and 161a-162b). Dimensions c. 22 x 13.2; text area is the space between outside frames measuring 17.5 x 19.2 cm and the frames surrounding the central text which measure 11.8 x 6.9cm. The text is written diagonally in the margins. No author is given. The title Kitāb ifz al-iah is taken from a line on fol. 161a where it states it is the end of the treatise. Immediately thereafter, however, there is a chapter (fasl) on a drink.

The copy is undated. The appearance of the paper, ink, and script suggests a date of the late 17th to early 18th century. It must have been completed before an owner's signature and stamp was placed in it in 1796/1211 H.

This prose text is written in the margins around a central area containing Persian medical poetry. The central texts and the marginal text were executed by the same hand, in a medium-small careful, professional ta‘liq tending toward naskh script. The text area has been frame-ruled, and space was allowed for frames to enclose the metrical treatise; on fols. 2a-65b frames of two blue lines enclose the central text, but they were not drawn on the remaining folios, although space was left for them. Black ink with headings in red and green. There are later interlinear and marginal notes.

The thick, opaque, slightly-glossy yellow-brown paper has only indistinct laid lines occasionally visible. The paper is waterstained. Some leaves have been repaired and strengthened; folios 2 and 3 are guarded. The edges have been trimmed from their original size.

The volume consists of 162 leaves and one preliminary folio. The preliminary folio and folio 1a are blank. The volume contains a collection of 8 metrical treatises on medical topics in addition to a fragment of an encyclopaedia. Item 1 (fol. 1b) is a fragment of an abridgement of an encyclopaedia by Jurjānī (MS P 25, item 1); item 2 (fols. 2a-80a) is the poem by ‘Alī ibn shaykh Muammad ibn ‘Abd al-Ramān (MS P 25, item 2); item 3 (fols. 80b-95a) a poem possibly based on a treatise by Jurjānī (MS P 25, item 3); item 4 (fols. 95a-98b) anon. poem on cure in a hour possibly based on a treatise by Rāzī (MS P 25, item 4); item 5 (fols. 99a-117a) versification of a treatise by Jaghmīnī (MS P 25, item 5); item 6 (fols. 117b-118a) anon. poem on leprosy (MS P 25, item 6); item 7 (fols. 118b-156b) anonymous Turkish poem with Persian commentary (MS P 25, item 7); item 8 (fols. 157b-160b) anon. poem on regimen and therapy (MS P 25, item 8); item 9 (fols. 161a-162a) anon. poem on materia medica (MS P 25, item 9). The marginal item occuring on fols. 2a-159a and 160a-162b is an anonymous prose treatise on materia medica and regimen is here catalogued. There are occasional unexplained blank central spaces on leaves where the marginal treatise continues around the edges of the folios. In two of these central blank spaces (fols. 75a and 76a) a much more recent and casual hand has placed two 16x16 magic squares. The order of the leaves comprising the volume may not be entirely correct.


The volume is bound in a modern library binding of pasteboards covered with tan leather, with "Khamrah Agha, Jawahir al-maqal 1796" in gilt on the spine. There are modern pastedowns and endpapers.


At five places in the volume (fols. 75a, 76a, 95a, 98b, and 162b) a later hand in a good calligraphic script has repeated the same statement: "The owner and possessor of this medical book called Jawahir al-maqal is Khamrah Aghā ibn Rustum ibn Muammad Aghā ibn Khir Aghā ibn Mīr Khamrah ibn Mīr Mīzā ibn Amad Beg, in the year 1211 [= 1796-7]." An owner's stamp accompanies these statements. Sommer (Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS., p. 338) interpreted this name as referring to the compiler of the collection, giving the name as Khamrah Aghā ibn Rustam Aghā ibn Muammad; the name, however, is clearly that of a later owner.

The volume was bought in 1941 by the Army Medical Library from A.S. Yahuda, who acquired it in Ebril in northern Iraq (ELS 1685 med 45).


Schullian/Sommer, p. 338 entry P 25 item 3, where the name of an owner of the volume is misinterpreted as the compiler of the collection.

NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 48-136 no. 5

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