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Rose gives Nightingale a handkerchief as a keepsake

Rose gives Nightingale a handkerchief as a keepsake

From a manuscript of Badiʿ al-Din Manuchir al-Tajiri al-Tabrizi, Dilsuznama (Book of compassion), dated AH 860 (1455–56 AD), Edirne

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Ouseley 133, fol 62r

This manuscript is a rare dated example from the early period of Ottoman Turkish book production. An unknown scribe copied it at Edirne, in Thrace, when the city’s role as the imperial capital was ending.

The work is a mystical treatise by a Persian poet that has been copied in Persian. It tells the popular story of the rose and the nightingale, through human protagonists of the same name, and is embellished with references to well-known episodes from other Persian love stories.

It is an example of the way Persian stories, and the poets and scribes who wrote and copied them, travelled far beyond the borders of Iran.