Sinai Persian 2

The Sinai library contains two Persian manuscripts. The second is a copy of Tarīkh-i Jahān-gushā (‘The History of the World Conqueror’), the story of Genghis Khan. It was written by Atirta-Malik Juvayni in the thirteenth century. He writes from personal observation. He was with Ilkhan Hulagu in 1256 at the taking of Alamut, and was responsible for saving part of its celebrated library.

This is a tall manuscript, measuring 37 by 22.5 centimetres. It is 8 centimetres thick. The decoration of the title page is breathtaking in the precision of its pen and brush work, and in its palette of colours, with blue and gold predominating. The manuscript is written on thin sheets of glazed Oriental paper.

The inside front board is covered with tooled leather of different colours. The central panel depicts an idyllic garden, with deer beneath a flowering tree, and birds in its branches. One of the deer drinks from a stream. This is stamped on gilt leather, with gilt ornaments above and below.

5 comments to Sinai Persian 2

  • Richard Saloom

    Dear Father Justin,

    This is truly a work of art. Does this particular copy actually date to the 13th century? Did the monastery’s library collect books that were not of religious nature?

    Is the library currently still acquiring books or it more just retaining and preserving the current volumes?

    I am always amazed at your photography!


    • Father Justin

      The manuscript is much later, but it has not been studied, so I do not know exactly when it was written. The library contains medical texts, travel accounts, and texts in ancient Greek, which is still the pinnacle of the Greek language. We are not actively acquiring manuscripts, but we are happy to accept donations.

  • GretchenJoanna

    Thank you for sharing this gorgeous work of art.

  • Maria

    So beautiful!
    Very precious!
    And perfect photographs
    Thanks father Justin !


    Beautiful Fr Justin!
    It reminds me of the deer depicted near tree of life, in the Apse Mosaic at San Clemente.

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