Kitāb al-bayzarah كتاب البيزرة

Or 8187

Download PDF (484 MB)

Search within this record

The record is made up of Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. i+152+i. It was created in 12 Jumādá II 1201. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Oriental Manuscripts.

About this record


Treatise on falconry focussing on the health and treatment of birds of prey by an unnamed author. The title appears on the title page (f. 3r) asكتاب البيزرة صنّفه الحكماء المتقدمين للملك الاسكندري (!) الرومي وهو كتاب عجيب مما يصلح بالملوك إذ لا بدّ لكلّ ملك من مسيره إلى الصيد بإحدى هذه الطيور الجوارح ( Book of Hunting with Birds of Prey, Written by the Ancient Sages for the King Alexander [lit. ' the Alexandrine king '] the Greek, it is a wondrous book fit for kings, since every king must go hunting with one of these birds of prey ). At f. 75r, line 6-8, the title is found again in this form, but with Alexander (الاسكندر) correctly written. On f. 3v, line 1, the book is also given the Persian title Bāznāmeh (بازنامه, Falcon Book ).

Apart from ancient authorities such as Galen (جالينوس, see e.g. f. 15, line 4) and Archigenes (? ارجناجيس, f. 29v, line 6), the anonymous author also draws upon Arabic-writing authors such as Ad-ham ibn Muḥriz al-Bāhilī (أدهم ابن محرز الباهلي; see e.g. f. 6, line 2; 9r, line 4) and al-Ghiṭrīf ibn Qudāmah al-Ghassānī (الغطريف ابن قدامة الغساني; see e.g. f. 7v, line 10; 9r, line 4), the authors of the Kitāb manāfi‘ al-ṭayr (كتاب منافع الطير; Book of the Uses of Birds ) or Kitāb al-ṭuyūr (كتاب الطيور; Book of Birds ), written for the Abbasid caliph al-Mahdī (المهدي, reg. 775-85; see al-Sarraf, 'Mamluk Furūsīyah Literature and Its Antecedents', Mamlūk Studies Review 8.1 (2004), pp. 184-85); and a certain Sa‘d ibn ‘Aqīr (سعد ابن عقير; see f. 7, line 8).

The text is divided into two treatises (مقالتان) or parts (جزءان), each subdivided into chapters (أبواب). Treatise One is devoted to general information about birds of prey, their anatomical make up (based on Galenic humoral pathology), physical characteristics etc. Treatise Two describes specific illnesses, their signs and treatments.

  • Treatise One, which is Part One of the book: fifty-two chapters (المقالة الأولى وهو (!) الجزء الأول من الكتاب... وعدة أبواب منه إثنا وخمسون بابًا [taken from colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. of Treatise One, ff. 74v, line 9-75r, line 10]; ff. 3v-75r);
  • Treatise Two, which is Part Two, comprises discussions of all the illnesses of [birds] of prey, with their signs and treatments with medicines that heal a given illness: sixty-three chapters (المقالة الثانية وهي الجزء الثاني تشتمل على ذكري (!) علل الضواري كلّ علّة وعلامتها وعلاجها بالأدوية التي تصلح لتلك العلّة وهي ثلاثة وستون بابًا; ff. 75v-148r).

A list of the chapters titles of Treatise Two is found on ff. 75v-84v.

The manuscript appears to be complete.

The copy was completed on 12 Jumādá II 1201/1 April 1787 by Mullā Maṭar ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Ṭawqī (ملا مطر ابن عبد الله الطوقي; see colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. , f. 148r, lines 1-8, transcribed below).

Other copies of this text are found in Istanbul, Ayasofya 3697 (dated 872/1467) and Paris, BnF Arabe 2831 (dated 848/1444). In the Paris manuscript, the text is attributed to Abū Bakr ibn Yūsuf ibn Abī Bakr ibn Ḥasan ibn Muḥammad al-Qāsimī One of the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates; also used to refer to a confederation of seafaring Arabs led by the Qāsimī tribe from Ras al Khaima. al-Qurashī al-‘Alawī al-Ash‘arī (أبو بكر بن يوسف بن أبي بكر بن حسن بن محمد القاسمي القرشي العلوي الأشعري, d. before 1444).

With the exception of the introductory material linking the text to Alexander the Great (ff. 3v-7v of the present manuscript), a nearly identical text is found in British Library Or. 15639 under the title al-Qānūn al-waḍīḥ fī ‘ilm al-bayzarah (القانون الواضح في علم البيزرة, Clear Canon Concerning the Science of Hunting with Birds of Prey ) and attributed to al-Waṭwāṭ (الوطواط), presumably Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Yaḥyá (محمد بن إبراهيم بن يحى, d. 1318) the Mamluk bookseller and author of the encyclopedia of natural history Mabāhij al-fikar wa-manāhij al-‘ibar (مباهج الفكر ومناهج العبر, Delights of Ideas and Courses of Lessons ).

Begins (f. 3r, lines 3-7):

ذكر الثقات من الروم أهل المعرفة أن الاسكندر

الرومي قال للحكماء المحتفين بخدمته يومًا أريد أن

تعرفوني بطبيعة البازي وأمراضه العارضة

له وعلامة كلّ مرض ودواءه وهل طبيعة البازي

تقارب طبيعة الأدمي أم لا...

Ends (f. 147v, lines 3-7):

... فإذا عاد الطير

من الصيد يدرج له في طعمه منها

شيئ فإنه ينفعه ويعبر طعمه ولا

يلحقه الريح ويعطي ذلك في الشهرد

فعتين في حال صحته ...

Colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. (ff. 147v, line 7-148r, line11):

... تمّ الكتاب

بحمد الله وعونه وحسن توفيقه والحمد

لله وحده وصلى الله على سيّدنا محمد وآله

وصحبه وسلّم تسليمًا كثيرًا

وقد وقع الفراغ من كتابة هذه البيزرة ضحوة

نهار يوم السبت ثاني عشر من شهر جمادى

الأخير (!) سنة الألف ومائتين واحد من الهجرة

النبوية المصطفوية على هاجرها أفضل

الصلاة والسلام وأكمل التحيّات وعلى ذلك على

يد أضعف عباد الله وأحوجهم إليه الفقير المقرّبا

الذنب والتقصير الراجي عفو ربّه الجليل مُلا

مطر ابن عبد الله الطوقي يرجو عفا الله عنه وعن

والديه إنشاء الله تعالا (!) بمحمد وآله لطا (؟)

هرين صلوات الله عليهم آجمين ولا

حولا ولا قوة الله (!) إلا با الله (!) العلي العظيم

Extent and format
Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. i+152+i
Physical characteristics

Material: Western laid paper, with watermark visible in gutter of most openings

Dimensions: 213 x 150 mm leaf [155 x 112 mm written (frame dimensions)]

Foliation: British Museum foliation in pencil

Ruling: No ruling visible; 10-11 lines per page; vertical spacing 7 lines per 10 cm

Script: Naskh ; the scribe is Mullā Maṭar ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Ṭawqī (ملا مطر ابن عبد الله الطوقي; see colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. , f. 148r, lines 1-8)

Ink: Black ink, with rubricated headings; page frames in red

Binding: British Museum binding

Condition: Tears repaired on some folios

Marginalia: Very few within text (see, however, the drawing of a bird in the margin of f. 87r, presumably by the same hand as drew those on f. 2r), but many extracts in prose and verse, lists and drawings by hands other than that of the main scribe on the front and back flyleaves (ff. 1r-2v and 148v-152v

Seals: None

Written in
Arabic in Arabic script

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Oriental Manuscripts
Access conditions


Archive reference
Or 8187

History of this record

12 Jumādá II 1201 (AH, Hijri qamari)
Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased from David Fetto, 9 June 1917

Related material


Istanbul, Ayasofya 3697

Paris, BnF Arabe 2831 (

Select Bibliography

al-Sarraf, Shihab, 'Mamluk Furūsīyah Literature and Its Antecedents', Mamlūk Studies Review 8.1 (2004), pp. 141-200

Use and share this record

Share this record
Cite this record in your research

Kitāb al-bayzarah كتاب البيزرة, British Library: Oriental Manuscripts, Or 8187, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 June 2024]

Link to this record
IIIF details

This record has a IIIF manifest available as follows. If you have a compatible viewer you can drag the icon to load it. in Universal viewerOpen in Mirador viewerMore options for embedding images