During the 19th century a major programme of collection of ancient Indian Islamic manuscripts (primarily written in Arabic or Persian) began in North India. Eventually, one of the world's largest and finest collections of such manuscripts was gathered, and is now housed at the Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library in Patna. The finest volume in this collection was inscribed on the International Memory of the World Register in 2011 as a representative of the collection as a whole. This is the Tarikh-e-Khandan-e-Timuriyah ("Chronicle of the Descendants of Timur").

This Chronicle gives the history of the great conqueror, Timur, and of his descendants, the Mughal Emperors of India, down to the time of the Emperor Akbar. The volume was produced in 1577–78 during the reign of the Emperor Akbar. It was prepared for the Emperor personally and kept in his personal library. An autograph of the Emperor Shah Jehan shows the volume was still in the Emperor's private library a century later. The volume, hand-written on the finest paper, contains 133 paintings on which no less than 51 prominent artists had worked. The paintings are delicate, refined and exquisite: the pinnacle of Mughal art. The written text is equally fine with the calligraphy of the highest standard. This Chronicle, written for the Emperor's personal use, was unique: only one single copy was ever produced. The art of Mughal India, of which this volume marks the very peak, is one of the high points of world culture. The splendour, beauty, elegance and perfection of this manuscript cannot be over-praised.

International Register



The volume is housed in the Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna. ~ Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Library