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MASNAVI: كتاب المثنوى المعنوى [Kitab al-Masnavi al-Manavi / Masnavi]



An early lithographed book in Persian language with extracts from Rumi’s Masnavi.


8°, 119 pp. lithographed text, contemporary stenciled paper boards, brown linen spine (good used example, binding slightly rubbed and stained, minor staining in white margins).


1 in stock


A handsome early example of Persian lithography contains extracts from Masnavi, one of the most influential Persian books, written in 13th century by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi. The introduction and the first text page are adorned with decorative traditional floral patterns, deriving from manuscripts.

The book, printed in 1266 AH (1849 AD) belongs to an early period of Persian lithography. Although the first lithographic press was brought from Tiflis to Persia in 1821, the first recorded book, The Quran, was only published in 1832/1833. The books lithographed until circa 1855 are known as incunabula of the Persian lithography.

It is also possible, that the book was lithoraphed in Istanbul, where in the mid 19th century this kind of paper was used for lithographed books. The subjects of lithography and Persian books in Istanbul around 1850 are still waiting for detailed researches.

The book is bound in decorative block printed paper, possibly originally used as wallpapers. The binding was probably made in Istanbul in the second half of the 19hth century, where such bindings enjoyed popularity among upper classes.

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