This book contains a text on wine from the 17th century AD written by Imam Qāẓi ebn Kāshef al-Din Moḥammad during the reign of Shah ῾Abbās I of the Safavid dynasty (1587–1628). It is important not only because of the information it provides on wine, medical knowledge, and herbs and medicines, but also for its social and folkloric contents. It shows that if an imam wished to do so, he could allow his followers to drink wine, even for pleasure. However, at the outset the author feels obliged to take great care even when prescribing wine to the members of the clergy or sick people. As the work progresses he is able to strengthen his arguments for the benefits of wine, which makes him able even to speak about the manners of drinking wine towards the end of the work.
Two manuscripts of the text are known to the editor. The older manuscript was perhaps written in Esfahan during the first half of the 11th century AH/17th century AD. It is a very fine and ornamented book, with the pages decorated with gold and šangarf (cinnabar, vermilion) written in Naskh inside ornamented frames. Even between the lines there are decorations. As works on science and religion were written in this style in those days, it is obvious that the book was regarded as a religious-scientific work, rather than a literary work, which would usually have been written in Nasta῾liq style. This manuscript is incomplete and lacks some parts, including the colophon.
The second manuscript belongs to the British Museum (Rieu, Vol. 2, p. 844, Add. 19619). The style of the decoration and the handwriting shows that this manuscript was probably written in Shiraz. It is an ordinary manuscript with simple decorated tables but no decorations between the lines, and it is written in a very ordinary and popular Nasta῾liq of the late 17th century AD. This shows that in Shiraz the book was regarded as a literary piece. Moreover as this manuscript is an ordinary copy, it is written in the style in which all manuscripts of this kind were written. This manuscript is more complete.
For several reasons, though, the first manuscript was taken as the original. The most important are that it is older and also preserves more features of the author’s dialect, but the script and paper are also older.
Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014.