FARHANG-E QAWWĀS, a Persian dictionary compiled probably no later than 716/1315 by the founder of Persian lexicography in India, the poet and writer Faḵr-al-Dīn Mobārakšāh Qawwās Ḡaznavī, or Faḵr-e Qawwās, known also as Kamāngar. In his brief preface, Faḵr-e Qawwās writes that he compiled this dictionary to facilitate reading the Šāh-nāma. However, the examples he cites from some sixty other poets (including Adīb Ṣāber, Šaraf Šafarva, Neẓāmī, Ḵāqānī, and the Indian poets Tāj Rīza, Šehāb Mahmara, and Nāṣerī) exceed his quotations from the Šāh-nāma itself. The dictionary of Qawwās, sometimes referred to as Farhang-e Šāh-nāma, Farhang-nāma, or Farhang-e panj baḵšī, is notable for its arrangement of words according to themes. This distinguishes it from most other Persian dictionaries, which are arranged alphabetically, and may have been derived from the example of the 6th/12th-century Arabic dictionary Moqaddemat al-adab by Zamaḵšarī. It is divided into five large parts (baḵš) which are subdivided into chapters (gūna). Some chapters are further divided into sections (bahra), again on thematic principles. The five major thematic parts of the dictionary are: 1. The phenomena of the upper world—the names of God; the angels, the prophets, the religions and their books; the heavens, stars, and months; fire, wind, and earth; the phenomena that occur between heaven and earth. 2. Minerals and inanimate objects—earth, mountains, stone, and clay. 3. The vegetable kingdom—plants, grasses, and trees; flowers and flower gardens; crops and grains. 4. Animals—large and small birds; aquatic animals; quadrupeds; humans—human body parts, and human qualities. 5. Things people produce and use—dwellings; dishes, vessels, and other household items; food; clothes; illnesses; war, warriors, and weapons; tools, equipment, and occupations; miscellaneous nouns. Farhang-e Qawwās contains 1,341 entries. It includes nouns and simple Persian words (no compounds). Explanations are brief; pronunciation is not indicated. The author never mentions his sources, but it is evident that a considerable number of entries were taken from Loḡat-e fors by Asadī Ṭūsī (q.v.), the earliest extant Persian dictionary. Farhang-e Qawwās in turn became a notable source for other lexicographers and for a number of Persian dictionaries subsequently compiled in India: Dastūr al-afāżel (q.v.) by Ḥājeb Ḵayrāt Rafīʿ, Adāt al-fożalāʾ by Qāżī Ḵān Badr Moḥammad Dehlavī, 822/1419; Farhang-e zafāngūyā wa jahānpūyā by Bad- al-Dīn Ebrāhīm (q.v.); Baḥr al-fażāʾel by Moḥammad b. Qawām b. Rostam b. Aḥmad Balḵī, 837/1433; Farhang-e ebrāhīmī by Ebrāhīm Qawām Fārūqī 878/1473; Moʾayyed al-fożalāʾ by Moḥammad b. Lād Dehlavī, 925/1519; and Farhang-e jahāngīrī (q.v.) by Jamāl-al-Dīn Ḥosayn Enjū, 1017/1608. Farhang-e Qawwās often provides more accurate explanations of words and their usage than other Persian dictionaries. It played an important role in the development of Persian lexicography in India. There is only known manuscript of the work, written in the early 10th/16th century, and preserved in the library of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Ivanow, no. 516; 68 folios, eighteen lines to a page, in nasḵò).


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

S. I. Baevskiĭ [Bayevsky], “Predmetno-tematicheskiĭ slovar persidskogo yazyka—Farhang-e Fakhri Qawwās, konets XIII–nachalo XIV vv.” (Subject-thematic dictionary of the Persian language—Farhang-e Faḵr-e Qawwās, end of 13th – beginning of 14th cents.) in Pismennye pamyatniki i problemy istorii kul’tury narodov Vostoka I, Moscow, 1986, pp. 14-17.

Idem, Rannaya persidskaya lexikografiya XI-XV vv. (Early Persian lexicography, 11th-15th cents.), Moscow, 1989, pp. 50-55.

Faḵr-al-Dīn Mobārakšāh Qawwās Ḡaznavī, Farhang-e Qawwās, ed. N. Aḥmad, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974.

Ivanow, Catalogue. Storey, III/1, pp. 4-5.

(Solomon Bayevsky)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999