Qutb al-Din Mahmud Shirazi’s Sharh Qanun ibn Sina

ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; modern binding

copied in naskh script; 25 lines to the page

195 folios; 32 x 24cm

This commentary, known as the Tuhfah al-Sa‘diyyah, is one of the most famous commentaries on Ibn Sina’s medical encyclopaedia, the Qanun fi’l-Tibb. It was dedicated by the author to Sa‘d al-Din Savaji, a vizier of the Ilkhan Öljeytü (r 1304–1317). This copy, which is written in two different hands, is undated, but the earlier hand, like the format, is typically Ilkhanid. The copying may have been continued in later 14th-century Egypt or Syria, since folio 1a bears a characteristically Mamluk dedication page, and a librarian’s note dated 772 AH (1373–4 AD).

F. Maddison & E. Savage-Smith, Science, Tools & Magic, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XII, Part One, London 1997, cat.8, pp.32 and 34–5.

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.200, pp.168–9.