MIRATH-E MAKTUB (Mirāṯ-e Maktub), a research center in Tehran, focused on editing manuscripts (including those concerned with the history of science), cataloguing Persian and Arabic manuscripts in Iran and the wider Persianate cultural area, and studying related codicological issues.

The establishment of centers concerned specifically with editing and publication of Persian classical texts can be traced back to the years before the revolution of 1979.  Two important institutes, the Iranian Culture Foundation (Bonyād-e farhang-e Irān, under the directorship of Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari) and the Institute for Translation and Publication (Bongāh-e tarjoma va našr-e ketāb, led by Ehsan Yarshater) devoted the lion’s share of their activities to the publication of scholarly editions of classical Persian texts.  The Iranian Cultural Foundation, which was active between 1965 and 1980, published approximately 90 classical texts, edited by a number of eminent scholars.  Similarly, the Foundation for Translation and Publication of Texts supported the publication of many important classical texts that were edited according to modern scholarly standards.  But although a number of governmental institutions, such as the Iran University Press (Našr-e Dānešgāhi Irān, managed by Naṣrollāh Purjavādi), continued somewhat sporadically to publish classical Persian texts after 1979, Mirāṯ-e Maktub was the only institute that focused its activities solely on editing and codicological studies of classical texts. 

The Written Heritage Research Center (Markaz-e pažuheši-e mirāṯ-e maktub) was created in 1994 in order to assist scholarly editors and to promote and publish outstanding Iranian and Islamic literary monuments.  The Center, which was established at the outset with the help of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, was initially called the Bureau for the Publication of Written Heritage (Daftar-e našr-e mirāṯ-e maktub).  However, following its 6th anniversary in 2000, it was registered as a non-profit, non-governmental institution under the name of the Center for the Publication of Written Heritage (Markaz-e našr-e mirāṯ-e maktub).  Later, in 2006, the Center obtained a license from the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, to establish four research departments, and as a result, changed its name to the Written Heritage Research Center. Following this development the Center embarked on pioneering research alongside its publication activities.  The research departments of the Center are divided into the Department of Textual Studies and Editing, the Department of Codicology and Cataloging, the Department of the Iranian Cultural Area, and the Department of the History of Science.  Members of these departments are in charge of realizing and supervising the Center’s approved projects, which are carried out either by the members of its scholarly council or by outside researchers under the supervision or approval of that council.

The Center’s publications cover several main topics.  In the area of classical texts, these are further subdivided into 14 principal headings, with the following number of titles published by 2009: Persian language and literature (48 titles), Islamic sciences and learning (55 titles), science and technology (14 titles), history and geography (36 titles), the heritage from Transoxiana (6 titles), the heritage of the [Indian] Subcontinent (1 title), textual studies (3 titles), manuscript catalogues (4 titles), facsimile editions (3 titles), codicology (2 title), epistolary collections (6 titles), festschrifts (1 title), memorial volumes (4 titles), and conferences and seminar proceedings (2 titles).

The total number of the Center’s publications reached 185 titles printed in 213 volumes by 2009, the majority of which concern Persian texts.  Given their subject matter, many of the Center’s other publications published in categories other than Persian language and literature are also of considerable relevance to Persian literature.

The following is a list of some of the important classical Persian texts that have been published by the Center, arranged chronologically according to their date of composition:  

Baḵši az tafsiri kohan be fārsi (A fragment of an old commentary on the Qur’an in Persian), ed. Mortażā Āyatollāhzāda-ye Širāzi (possibly from the 4th/10th century).

Šāhfur-e Esfarāyeni, Tāj al-tarājem, ed. Najib Māyel Heravi and ʿAli-Akbar Elāhi Ḵorāsāni (5th/11th century).

Nāser-e Ḵosrow, Zād al-mosāfer, ed. Moḥammad ʿEmādi Ḥāʾeri (5th/11th century).

Rašid-al-Din Waṭwāṭ Laṭāyef al-amṯāl wa ṭarāyef al-aqwāl, ed. Ḥabiba Dānešāmuz (6th/12th century).

Abu’l-Makārem Ḥasani, Daqāyeq al-taʿwil wa ḥaqāyeq al-tanzil, ed. Juyā Jahānbaḵš (7th/13th century).

Ṣāʾen-al-Din Torka Eṣfahāni, Šarḥ-e naẓm al-dorr, ed. Akram Jowdi Neʿmati (8th/14th century).

Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh, Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ, ed. Moḥammad Rowšan (8th/14th century).

Jowhari Nišāburi, Jawāher-nāma-ye Neẓāmi, ed. Iraj Afšār (8th/14th century).

Jāmi, Haft Awrang, I, ed. J. Dād ʿAlišāh et al.; II, A. Afṣaḥzād et al. (8th/14th century).

The Center has also published a number of important Arabic texts, of which some of the most notable titles are: 

Abu Rayḥān Biruni, Āṯār al-bāqiya, ed. Parviz Aḏkāʾi (5th/11th century).

Idem, al-Jamāher fi’l-jawāher, ed. Yusof al-Hādi (5th/11th century).

Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Jabbār ʿOtbi, Taʾriḵ al-Yamini, ed. Yusof al-Hadi (5th/11th century).

Ṣāʿe of Andalusia, al-Taʿrif be ṭabaqāt al-omam, ed. Ḡolām-Reżā Jamšid-nežād (5th/11th century).

Abu Bakr Ḵʷārazmi, Divān, ed. Ḥāmed Ṣedqi (5th/11th century).

Šahrastāni, Mafātiḥ al-asrā wa maṣābiḥ al-abrār, ed. Moḥammad-ʿAli Āḏaršab (6th/13th century).

ʿEmād-al-din Eṣfahāni, Ḵaridat al-qaṣr wa jaridat al-ʿaṣr, ed. Adnān Moḥammad Āl Ṭoʿma (6th/13th century).

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Kāšāni, Laṭāʾef al-aʿlām, ed. Majid Hadizāda (6th/13th century).

Mir Dāmād, Taqwim al-imān, ed. ʿAli Awjebi (11th/18th century).

In addition to these publications, the Center produces a series under the title of Kārnama-ye dānešvarān-e eslām va Irān (The chrestomathy of the scholars of Islam and Iran), in which classical texts are summarized and presented in simple prose intended for younger readers and those unable to utilize these texts directly. The publishing house Mirāṯbān has published 111 volumes in this series up to 2009.

Two journals are also published by the Center.  The first of these, a quarterly entitled Āʾina-ye mirāṯ (Mirror of Heritage), has been regularly published since the summer of 1998; with 44 issues appearing up to the winter of 2009. It is devoted to book reviews, bibliographies, and information about textual studies.  The 20th issue of this journal marked the beginning of this publication’s new series, which also involved certain improvements in its appearance and content.  Beginning with issue number 23, the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology officially recognized this publication as a journal for propagation of scholarly views.  The Center’s other journal is the monthly Gozāreš-e mirāṯ (The Heritage Report), of which 35 issues have appeared between October 2006 and March 2009 (Mehr 1385-Esfand 1388 Š.).

Since its establishment, the Center has sponsored 75 seminars and panels on various topics of textual scholarship of classical texts, with the active participation of many eminent scholars.  Additionally, the Center has independently sponsored a number of conferences such as the conference in honor of the Turkish scholar, Professor Abdülbāki Gölpınarlı (Tehran, 2007).  It has also jointly sponsored conferences, such as the Second International Seminar on Iran and Islam, which was concerned with the history and culture of post-Mongol Iran, and which was conducted in cooperation with the Department of Oriental Studies of the University of Osaka in Japan (Mehr 1385 Š./October 2006), and the Seminar on Persian Codicology, which was conducted in cooperation with the Iranology Center of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Mehr 1387 Š./October 2008). 


Mirāṯ-e Maktub, Čekida-ye maqālāt-e dovvomin seminār-e beynolmelali-e Irān va Eslām: Tāriḵ va farhang-e baʿd az moḡol, Tehran, 2006.

Idem, Dah sāl talāš, Tehran, 2004.

Idem, Fehrest-e entešārāt-e markaz-e pažuheši-e mirāṯ-e maktub, Tehran, 2008. 

(Ali Mir-Ansari)

Originally Published: January 1, 2000

Last Updated: March 15, 2010