National library purchases exquisite Khamseh manuscript

September 18, 2020 - 20:0

TEHRAN – An exquisite manuscript copy of Persian poet Nezami Ganjavi’s Khamseh has been recently purchased by the National Library and Archives of Iran (NLAI). 

The version was inscribed in the 15th century in present-day Afghanistan and bears several magnificent miniatures, NLAI announced on Thursday. 

Medallion patterns are painted on the red cover of the 550-year-old manuscript along with arabesque motifs. Religious inscriptions and colorful patterns can also be seen on its opening page. 

Nezami’s reputation rests on his Khamseh, which is a pentalogy of poems written in Masnavi verse form (rhymed couplets) and totaling 30,000 couplets.

These five poems include the didactic work Makhzan ol-Asrar (The Treasury of Mysteries), three traditional love stories of Khosrow and Shirin, Leili and Majnun, and Haft Paykar, and the Eskandarnameh, which records the adventures of Alexander the Great.

There are various versions of the Khamseh in Iranian libraries, but the two versions kept at the Central Library of the University of Tehran and the library of the Shahid Motahhari School and Mosque in Tehran were inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register list in 2011.


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