Banner featuring Arabic calligraphy in dark blue ink above the words Islamic Medical Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine written in burgundy ink.

Catalogue: Medical Poetry

Blue arrow pointing to the right Dar bayan-i narah va han   (MS P 16.1, item 1)
(On the Explanation of Male and Female Genitalia)
در بيان نره و هن

No other copy is recorded of this anonymous poem on sexual hygiene.

Physical Description

Persian. 2 leaves (fols. 4b-5a). Dimensions 20.0 x 11.2 cm (text area 14.0 x 8.5) cm; the text has been written at an angle, obliquely. The title is given at the beginning; no author is named.

The copy is undated and unsigned. The appearance of the paper, script, and ink suggests a date of the 17th century or later.

It is not known whether or not this is a complete copy. The poem is very casually written at an angle across the folios in a medium-large ta‘liq script, different and later from that of the main text in the volume. It is written in black ink. The area has not been frame-ruled. There are no catchwords.

The glossy, beige paper is thin and rather brittle, with very wavy laid lines but no visible chain lines. The leaves are dyed pink or pale green. The edges have been trimmed from their original size, and the paper has been soiled through thumbing.

The volume consists of 118 folios plus a preliminary leaf. The verso of the preliminary leaf and fols. 1a-2b, 4a, and 117a are blank. The recto of the preliminary leaf as well as fols. 3a-3b, 105a-108a, and 117b-118b have casually written recipes and notes added by a later hand. Item 1, fols. 4b-5a is the anonymous poem on sexual hygiene here catalogued. Item 2 (fols. 5a-104b) is the metrical compendium by Nāgawrī (MS P 16.1, item 2), and item 3, fols. 108b-115b, is a Persian treatise on foodstuffs by Ghiyāth al-Dīn ‘Ali al-Ifahānī (MS P 16.1, item 3).


The volume is bound in red leather over boards. In the center of each cover has a blind tooled medallion framed by blind tooled lines and circular designs. The spine and edges have been repaired. There are brown leather doublures. There are no endpapers.


The volume was acquired by the National Library of Medicine after 1946; no further information is available on the provenance or when it came into the collections.


Unpublished. Not included in Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS.

NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 55-42 no. 2

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