Reviews

This volume is the fourth of the (relatively) new catalogue of the Institute of Oriental Studies and of the Manuscript Heritage of Tajikistan (on the previous volumes, see my review in S. A. Dudoignon & Hisao Komatsu, eds., Research Trends in Modern Central Eurasian Studies, 2, Tokyo: Toyo Bunko, in cooperation with Abstracta Iranica, Paris, 2006, 6 & 11).  The authors propose a series of notices on a coherent ensemble of works in didactical literature intended for madrasa staff and students.  As in the previous opuses of the same collection, manuscripts are introduced through the alphabetical order of their titles, and chronological order of the different copies of the same title.  Each notice includes the author’s name, the manuscript’s class mark, the discipline to which its content can be attached (fiqh, falsafa-yi ‘amali, tafsir, etc.), the copyist’s name and more rarely the copy’s date, the style of calligraphy, the type of paper and binding, the number of pages and the format.  Given the inner coherence of the whole set, one can deplore the lack of an even short introduction on the works introduced here, as well as on the uses of this literature in the madrasas of Transoxiana up till the present.  It is still more regrettable that the authors have not mentioned the origin of the manuscripts, neither the date of their acquisition by the Institute—which would have provided invaluable information on the history of private preservation and on the circulation of manuscripts in twentieth-century Central Asia, in particular during the Soviet period.  When the sharp inner rivalries of the Institute of Oriental Studies will find an end, some words will have to be said also on the still understudied role played by this institution’s Director ‘Abd al-Ghani Mirzayeff (Mirzoev, 1908-76) in the collection of manuscripts, and in their communication to researchers and to leading religious figures of Dushanbe and its region—to say nothing of the debt of the authors of the present catalogue toward Mirzayeff’s first description of the institute’s collection, a bedside book of the present volume’s compilers (e.g., Dudoignon & Komatsu, 10).  The work ends with very useful indexes of authors and works.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-1.1.B-14