News story

IIS Launches Hamdani Collection Catalogue in London

14th February 2012

The IIS launched one of its new publications, Arabic, Persian and Gujarati Manuscripts: The Hamdani Collection, at the Ismaili Centre in London. The publication is a catalogue of rare and unique manuscripts generously donated by Professor Abbas Hamdani to the Library of the IIS.

Manuscript image from the Hamdani Collection Da‘a’im al-islam, al-Qadi al Nu ‘man (Ms. 1413/p.43) IIS 2011.These manuscripts were compiled by several generations of Indian religious scholars from the Hamdani family, and reflect important doctrinal and cultural changes through the centuries as well as the social history of the family from the Da’udi Bohrainfo-icon community in India and the Yemen.

 

 

 

Professor Eric Ormsby delivers the opening remarks IIS 2011.The event began with Opening Remarks by Professor Eric Ormsby, Deputy Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications at the IIS, who facilitated the receipt of the Hamdani collection and its transfer to the IIS. He introduced Professor Abbas Hamdani, one of the main speakers at the launch event, along with the editor of the catalogue, Professor François de Blois.

Professor Hamdani provided an insightful account of his family’s collection of manuscripts through the centuries describing the challenge of accumulating this collection from various members of the family world-wide. In this regard, he also discussed a second collection of manuscripts that he was hoping to gather and also donate to the IIS. Professor Hamdani thanked Professor de Blois for his efforts in cataloguing the complex collection with care and attention.

 

Professor François de Blois making his presentation IIS 2011.Professor François de Blois then made an in-depth presentation on the seven generations of scholars in the Hamdani family who were instrumental in putting the collection together. He also detailed the contents of the collection and discussed several manuscripts in detail, explaining their provenance and symbolism and using images of the originals to illustrate his points. Professor de Blois emphasised the significance of the Hamdani collection for both the preservation of Ismaili heritage and for the wider field of Shi‘i studies. The presentation was followed by questions from the audience, which included scholars in the field and members of the local Ismaili community. 

 

 

Professors Hamdani and de Blois signing copies of the catalogue for members of the audience IIS 2011.

Professors de Blois and Hamdani also signed copies of the catalogue for members of the audience.

Arabic, Persian and Gujarati Manuscripts: The Hamdani Collection follows on from other catalogues of manuscripts in the Institute’s collection: