Morgan Library, MS M.500
(Manafi'-i hayavan (Benefits of Animals))


Produced: Maragheh, Iran, late 13th century
Current Location: Morgan Library, New York, New York, USA
Manuscript Type: Single-author
Language: Persian
Folios: 86
Author: Ibn Bakhtishu, Ubayd Allah ibn Jibra'il
Illustrated: Yes
Dimensions: Height: 35.5 cm Width: 28 cm
Sample page - Morgan Library MS M.500
Folio 20v


The Benefits of Animals, an Arabic/Persian "bestiary". There are illustrations of animals on most pages.

Manuscript translation from Arabic into Persian; written and illuminated in Maragheh, Iran, either 1297-1298 or 1299-1300.

The translation is by Abd al-Hadi ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmud ibn Ibrahim al-Maraghi, which he made at the command of Ghazan Khan, the Mongol ruler of Iran (ruled 1295-1304).

Dated in the colophon on fol. 84v.

During a 19th cent. or early 20th century restoration, considerable inpainting and overpainting was done, and new miniatures were added. These are on folios 3v, 6v, 23v, 25v, 36r, 47v, 58v, 72v, 78r, 78v, and 84r.

Decoration: woven paper which ranges from thin to medium thick; text written in black ink with important words in red ink; illuminated heading on fol. 2 written in white muhaqqaq on a lapis background; illuminated shams (sunburst) medallion with the name of the patron on fol. 2r; 103 miniatures; text and some miniatures are framed by two concentric red lines; other miniatures have gold frames; following fol. 60 headings are written in Arabic rather than Persian.

The illumination of M.500 is unfinished. On fol. 83r a blank space was left for a miniature, which was never painted.

[Adapted from the Morgan Library description]

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