ESFEZĀRĪ, MOʿĪN-AL-DĪN MOḤAMMAD ZAMČĪ (or Zamačī) Heravī (ca. 850-915/1446-1510; for his nesba see Storey-Bregel, p. 1045), calligrapher specializing in the taʿlīq script (see CALLIGRAPHY), minor poet (pen name Nāmī), and master of the epistolary art (see CORRESPONDENCE), who flourished in Herat during the reign of the Timurid Solṭān-Ḥosayn Bāyqarā. He originated from a family settled in Esfezār (i.e., Sabzavār), but unlike most of its residents, was not a Shiʿite (Rawżāt al-jannāt I, pp. 113-14; Ḥabīb al-sīar, Tehran, IV, p. 348; ʿAlī-Šīr, ed. Ganieva, p. 133, ed. Ḥekmat, p. 275). He came to Herāt in 873/1468-69 and subsequently entered the service of Majd-al-Dīn Moḥammad Ḵᵛāfī, plenipotentiary under Solṭān-Ḥosayn, as a secretary in the state chancery (Monšaʾāt, fols. 4b-8b). After Majd-al-Dīn’s fall from power around 895/1490 (and subsequent death in 899/1494), he was patronized by Qewām-al-Dīn Neẓām-al-Molk Ḵᵛāfī, vizier under Solṭān-Ḥosayn from 876/1471-72 (Subtelny, pp. 130 ff.). According to ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī (ed. Ganieva, p. 155, ed Ḥekmat, p. 98), his epistolary style was not approved of by such leading Timurid secretaries as ʿAbd-al-Wāseʿ Neẓāmī, nor was his method of writing the taʿlīq script accepted by contemporary master calligraphers.

Works. 1. Rawżāt al-jannāt fī awṣāf madīna Herāt, a work on the history and topography of Herat, begun in 897/1491-92 and completed in 899/1493-94 (Storey-Bregel, pp. 1045-46). It was written at the request of Qewām-al-Dīn Neẓām-al-Molk, and dedicated to him (Rawżāt al-jannāt I, p. 48). The work is divided into an introduction and twenty-six chapters (rawża), some of which are further subdivided into sections called čaman. The first five chapters contain a detailed geographical and topographical description of the city and region of Herāt and the major districts of Khorasan (for an overview of their content see Semenov pp. 72 ff.). The historical sections cover the reign of the Āl-e Kart (q.v.) and the Timurids up to the second accession of Solṭān-Ḥosayn in 875/1470 (Ethé, pp. 224-26; Rieu, Persian Manuscripts I, pp. 206-7).

2. A collection of model edicts, diplomas of appointment, and letters, usually referred to simply as Tarassol, Monšaʾāt, or Enšāʾ, but possibly having the title Resāla-ye qawānīn, which is borne by the incomplete Patna manuscript (1098, xxxiv). This manuscript has usually been regarded as representing a separate work (Storey-Bregel, p. 1048), but seems to be actually the introduction to the Monšaʾāt (Cat. Bankipore XI, p. 123). Although well known and quite popular in its day, it is not an outstanding example of epistolary style under the Timurids (for the Timurid epistolary style see Roemer’s intro. to ʿAbd-Allāh Morvārīd, pp. 15 ff.). According to the latest research, it was probably completed between 892/1487 and 895/1490 (Thermann, vi, where the earlier opinions of Ethé, 873/1468-69, and Dānešpažūh, 876-77/1471-73, regarding the date of its composition are discussed; Herrmann, p. 279, n. 5). It was not written at the request of Solṭān-Ḥosayn nor was it dedicated to him, as has frequently been stated (e.g., Ethé, p. 1131; Roemer, ibid., p. 21), although he is praised as the ruling monarch, but rather to Majd-al-Dīn Moḥammad (Monšaʾāt, fols. 8a-9a; Thermann, vi). The book contains an introduction on the art of enšāʾ and general rules governing it; four chapters (manšaʾs), containing: 1. royal orders of appointment, 2. diplomatic correspondence and correspondence with various types of people, 3. answers to correspondence from various types of people, 4. personal letters, introductions to books, and petitions, and a conclusion (see also Ethé, p. 1131). The work has never been published (for manuscripts, see Dānešpažūh, pp. 159-60; Thermann, x-xi; Thermann has done a partial German translation of the first two parts of the first chapter).


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

ʿAbd-Allāh b. Morvārīd, Šaraf-nāma, facs. ed. and tr. with comm. by H. R. Roemer as Staatsschreiben der Timuridenzeit,Wiesbaden, 1952.

Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 330-31.

M.-T. Dānešpažūh and B. ʿElmī-Anwārī, Fehrest-e ketābhā-ye ḵaṭṭī-e Ketāb-ḵāna-ye Majles-e senā I, Tehran, n.d., pp. 160-62.

Moʿīn-al-Dīn Moḥammad Esfezārī, Rawżāt al-jannāt fī awṣāf madīna Herāt, ed. S. M.-K. Emām, 2 vols., Tehran, 1338-39 Š./1959-60; abridged tr. B. de Meynard as “Extraits de la chronique persane d’Herat,” JA, 5th S., 16, 1860, pp. 461-520; 17, 1861, pp. 438-57, 473-522; 20, 1862, pp. 268-319.

G. Herrmann, “Zur Entstehung des Ṣadr-Amtes,” in U. Haarmann and P. Bachmann, eds., Die islamische Welt zwischen Mittelalter und Neuzeit. Festschrift für Hans Robert Roemer zum 65. Geburtstag, Beirut and Wiesbaden, 1979, pp. 278-95.

Monzawī, Nosḵahā III, pp. 2091-92; VI, pp. 4331-33.

ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī, Asarlar XII. Majāles al-nafāʾes, ed. S. Ganieva, Tashkent, 1966; Per. trans. Faḵrī Heravī and Moḥammad b. Mobārak Qazvīnī, ed. ʿA.-A. Ḥekmat, Tehran, 1323 Š./1944.

A. A. Semenov, “Nekotorye dannye po èconomike imperii Sultana Khosein-Mirzy (1254-1506)” (Some facts about the economy of the empire of Solṭān-Ḥosayn Mīrzā), Izvestiya Otdel. obshch. nauk AN Tadzhikskoi SSR 4, 1953. Storey, I, pp. 355-56, 1296.

M. E. Subtelny, “Centralizing Reform and its Opponents in the Late Timurid Period,” Iranian Studies 21/1-2, 1988, pp. 123-51.

A. Thermann, “Die Ernennungsurkunden im ‘enšāʾ’-Werk des Moʿīno’d-Dīn Esfezārī,” M.A. thesis, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, 1975.

(MARIA E. Subtelny)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: January 19, 2012

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Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6, pp. 595-596