The Tashrih-i Mansuri, as this text is also known, was dedicated by the author to Timur’s grandson, Pir Muhammad bin ‘Umar Shaykh, who was the ruler of Fars between 1394 and 1409. It is divided into chapters, which discuss the bones, nervous system, muscles, veins, arteries, organs, and the development of the embryo. According to Barbara Schmitz, the earliest known dated copies are from the 1670s and 80s. The calligraphy, illumination and drawings of ours however, as well as the paper, suggest a 15th century date, making it one of the earliest examples known (Barbara Schmitz, Islamic Manuscripts in the New York Public Library, New York, 1992, pp.134-35). An anatomical drawing from a similar text, with very similar drawing and colouring and again catalogued as 15th century is in the Biblilothèque nationale de France (published in La medicine au temps des califes, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 1996, p.110). A copy of the Tashrih-i Mansuri copied in Shiraz in around 1450 is in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection (MSS387; L’Age d’or des sciences arabes, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2005, no.91, p.167). Like ours the figures which illustrate the skeleton and the nervous system in the Khalili manuscript are shown from behind, with the head lifted up so that the mouth is at the top of the page. The other figures are all represented straight on.
A 15th century copy of the manuscript was sold at Sotheby’s, 19 April 1983, lot 189. More recently an 18th century Indian copy was sold at Sotheby’s, 8 October 2008, lot 45.