Rare manuscript of Kulliyat-i Attar showcased at Mashhad library

June 29, 2021 - 18:37

TEHRAN – A rare manuscript of the Kulliyat-i Attar was put on view in an exhibition for the first time at the Astan-e Qods Razavi Museum and Library in Mashhad on Tuesday.

This manuscript inscribed in the late 15 century is the oldest copy of the Kulliyat-i Attar, which is preserved at the library’s storehouse, the organizers of the showcase announced.

A number of literati and cultural figures attended the unveiling ceremony of the manuscript.

The manuscript is composed of the Asrar-nameh (Book of Mysteries), Mantiq at-Tayr (Conference of the Birds), Mosibat-nameh (“Book of Affliction”) and 76 love poems by the Persian mystic and poet Farid ud-Din Mohammad ibn Ebrahim Attar Neyshaburi (C. 1142-1220).

He was also the author of the Elahi-nameh (The Book of God), Mokhtar-nameh and Tadkerat al-Awliya.

Attar is most famous for the Mantiq at-Tayr, an allegorical poem describing the quest of the birds (i.e., Sufis) for the mythical Simorgh, or Phoenix, whom they wish to make their king (i.e., God).

His Elahi-nameh and the Mosibat-nameh (“Book of Affliction”) both are mystical allegories similar in structure and form to the Mantiq at-Tayr.

UNESCO is commemorating Attar by registering the 800th anniversary of his passing on its 2021 calendar of events.

Attar’s works have been published in several languages across the world.

A Japanese translation of the Elahi-nameh by Ayano Sasaki, a professor of Persian literature at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, was published in 2019 by Heibonsha, a Tokyo-based publishing house best known for producing dictionaries, encyclopedias and books on art, history and philosophy.

“It is hard to translate a literary text, especially one in Persian, into Japanese. Cultural and literary differences cause these difficulties,” Sasaki said during a conference on Attar organized at the University of Isfahan in April 2015.

“One of the differences is the melodies that the words have in the classical Persian literature,” she stated and added that it is impossible to transfer the melodies in translation.

“Japanese people welcome instructive, sweet and satirical stories, including the narratives that are in Attar’s works,” said Sasaki, who is the author of many articles including “Basic Principles of Persian Prosody” and “Selection of Classical Persian Poetry Meters”.

Photo: A page from the Kulliyat-i Attar, which was showcased in an exhibition for the first time at the Astan-e Qods Razavi Museum and Library in Mashhad on June 29, 2021.


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