International Workshop: “Kalila and Dimna in Anatolia: Persian and Turkish Traditions”


Date / Time 11 March 2023 (Sat) 2:30 PM–5:00 PM [GMT+9] (Doors open at 2:00 PM)
Venue in person (@Room 306 of ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 3-11-1 Asahi-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-8534) Access
+ online
*Pre-registration (deadline: 23:59 [GMT+9], 9 March 2023) is required for this lecture. → registration
Language English
Organized by NIHU Global Area Studies Program: The Global Mediterranean at ILCAA (Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa)
Contact gmed.ilcaa★ (Secretariat of the Global Mediterranean Project at ILCAA)
Please change ★ to @.


2:30 PM–2:40 PM Introduction

2:40 PM–3:10 PM Dr. Yui Kanda (ILCAA, TUFS),
“Reception of the Persian Metrical Version of Kalila and Dimna in Anatolia During the Early Modern Period”

3:10 PM–3:20 PM Coffee break

3:20 PM–3:50 PM Dr. Philip Bockholt (WWU, Münster),
 “On the Turkish Tradition of the Kalīla and Dimna: Parallel Translations for Different Patrons”

3:50 PM–4:00 PM Coffee break

4:00 PM–5:00 PM Discussion


“Reception of the Persian Metrical Version of Kalila and Dimna in Anatolia During the Early Modern Period”
In recent years, a considerable literature has grown up around the theme of the diffusion and reception of various versions of Kalila and Dimna, a collection of didactic animal fables that circulated widely in the Middle East and beyond after the production of Arabic prose version by Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ in the eighth century. Up to now, however, research concerning Persian metrical version of Kalila and Dimna, particularly that composed by Qāniʿī Ṭūsī around 1260 for the Seljuq ruler of Anatolia, Kaykāʾūs II (r. 1246–62), remains underdeveloped due to a relatively small number of manuscripts that survive to date. To address this gap in the literature, this presentation begins by providing a list of extant manuscripts of this work and introduces the contents of this hitherto less explored version of Kalila and Dimna. It will then examine the only known illuminated and illustrated manuscript, dated 900/1495 (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya [Mumbai], 51.34). While seven illustrated folios of this particular manuscript have occasionally been mentioned by art historians in the context of discussing the development of Ottoman illustrated manuscripts, its detailed codicological and textual analysis has yet to be conducted. Based on my own examination of this Mumbai manuscript and contemporaneous primary sources (including another manuscript of this work in the British Library), this paper proposes the possibility that it was produced in Istanbul for the court of Bāyāzīd II (r. 1481–1512). It also discusses a possible implication of this finding for the reception history of Kalila and Dimna in the early modern Persianate world.

Philip BOCKHOLT (WWU, Münster),
 “On the Turkish Tradition of the Kalīla and Dimna: Parallel Translations for Different Patrons”
The genre of mirrors for princes has a long tradition in the Middle East and beyond, dating back to pre-Islamic times. From the middle of the eighth century onwards, books of advice literature in various languages were produced and distributed throughout the Islamic world. Among these works, the collection of fables Kalīla and Dimna is a special case, as it was translated from Sanskrit into Middle Persian and later into Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish, as well as many European languages. This is also true for the Turkish principalities of Anatolia in the late medieval and early modern periods, where several versions of the text translated from Persian and written in Old Anatolian Turkish emerged. While most of the early Turkish versions fell into oblivion shortly after they were written, ʿAlī Çelebi’s (d. c. 1543) Hümāyūnnāme stands out. As an Ottoman Turkish translation of the Persian Anvār-i Suhaylī of the Herati scholar Ḥusayn Vāʿiż-i Kāshifī (d. 1504/5), the Hümāyūnnāme not only did not fall into oblivion, but was copied and disseminated throughout the Ottoman Empire from the Balkans to the Arab provinces. Focusing on the prefaces and epilogues of the Hümāyūnnāme and its predecessors in Old Anatolian and Ottoman Turkish, I will first discuss the reasons for the differences in production and transmission as well as the role of the translators and their patrons. Second, taking into account the manuscript tradition of the different versions, I will analyse the paratextual elements found in the manuscriptcopies in order to answer questions about the intended and actual readership.

Profile of the lecturers

Philip BOCKHOLT is Junior Professor for the History of the Turco-Persian world at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Münster (since October 2022). From 2022 to 2028, he will head the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group, “Inner-Islamic knowledge transfer in Arabic-Persian-Ottoman translation processes in the Eastern Mediterranean (1400–1750)” (cf. TRANSLAPT He was formerly a research associate at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Leipzig and received his PhD in Islamic Studies from Freie Universität Berlin in 2018. His PhD dissertation examined historiography in Iran in the early Safavid period (16th century) and provided an analysis of Khvāndamīr’s Ḥabīb al-Siyar (Beloved of Careers) and its readership. It was published in two volumes by Brill (Leiden/Boston) as Weltgeschichtsschreibung zwischen Schia und Sunna (Writing World History between Shia and Sunna) and Austrian Academy of Sciences Press (Vienna) as Ein Bestseller der islamischen Vormoderne (A Bestseller of Pre-Modern Times) in 2021–2. A series of research fellowships took him to Istanbul, Jerusalem, Madrid, Paris and Saint Petersburg.

Yui KANDA is Project Assistant Professor at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Her research focuses on Islamic works of art (ceramics, metalwork, and illustrated manuscripts) of the late medieval and the early modern period in the Middle East and South Asia. She is the author of “‘If I Circumambulate around Him, I Will Be Burnt’: A Brass Candlestick Endowed to the Mausoleum of Imam Musa al-Kazim, Kazimayn,” Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies ( and “Kashan Revisited: A Luster-Painted Ceramic Tombstone Inscribed with a Chronogram Poem by Muhtasham Kashani,” Muqarnas 34, 2017, pp. 273–86. Her current project explores the reception history of various versions of Kalila and Dimna in the early modern Persianate world.