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Old 16th February 2020, 03:25 PM   #1
ALEX
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Default Persian Qalamdan - Translation Request

Here is Persian(?) Papier-mâché qalamdan (pen case). Is it Persian or Arabic writing? Can someone translate it? Many thanks.
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Old 24th February 2020, 08:51 AM   #2
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Kwiatek, hopefully these are better photos and easier to read. No rush with translation, whenever you have time. Many thanks!
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Old 24th February 2020, 04:44 PM   #3
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Lucky man!!!
Yes its Persian, do you have the inkwell inside?
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Old 25th February 2020, 05:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Lucky man!!!
Yes its Persian, do you have the inkwell inside?


Thanks, Kubur! This is how I felt when I found it. Even though quite plain and modest, this is Central Asian qalamdan. I do not recall seeing known qalamdans from Central Asia. Does anyone know of identified qalamdans from Central Asia?

Unfortunately, its not pretty inside and there is no inkwell.
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Old 29th February 2020, 08:06 PM   #5
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This is how I understand the Persian verses

این قلمدان عالی بی اشباه
مر جوانان خوب را دلجو
ساکن اسفرنگ صحافش
گر بپرسی منزل او
سال تاریخ او ز روی کرم
صنعت بنده میر قربان گو

“This exalted, peerless pen-box
Is desired by the handsome youths.
Its bookseller lives in Isfarang,
Should you ask about his place of residence.
The year of its date (is given) through generosity,
Say “craft of the servant of Mir Qurban.”

The date is given in the form of an abjad chronogram. The letters of the Arabic/Persian alphabet have numerical values. If you add up the value of the letters comprising the phrase “craft of the servant of Mir Qurban“ you get a value of 1244 AH, which is equivalent to 1828-9 AD.

The pen-case appears to have been owned by a bookseller (sahhaf). I am not sure who Mir Qurban was - he may have been a local ruler, or perhaps a Sufi holy man, of whom the maker of the pen-box was a devotee.

Isfarang is another name for Isfara in Tajikistan. On the ends are two further words. One is تاریخ which means “date”, the other is وله which means “also by him”. The latter is the typical way in which you make an attribution to a poet in a poetic anthology, but I don’t really know what it means here. It may mean that the poem was by composed by the owner, but I’m not sure.

I’ve never seen a Central Asian qalamdan, let alone a dated one
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Old 2nd March 2020, 07:07 AM   #6
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Kwiatek,

Thank you so much for such incredible insights and translation. This is truly amazing to be able to read the text which appears to be very unusual where a date was written in words instead of numbers, and it is astonishing you were able to interpret it.

Do you know how common it was for the date to be written in abjad chronogram, and where it was used the most?

I also did not see identified Central Asian qalamdans before, this makes it an interesting discovery, thanks to you!!!!
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Old 6th March 2020, 09:01 AM   #7
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You are very welcome. Abjad chronograms are not that uncommon, though they don’t always add up correctly! This was a relatively straightforward one. A Central Asian qalamdan is certainly very unusual
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