LITHOGRAPHY (Pers. čāp-e sangi, planographic printmaking technique, invented by Alois Senefelder (b. Prague, 1771; d. Munich, 1834) at the end of the 18th century and introduced to Persia through Russia in the early decades of the 19th century.


The first lithographic printing press was brought to Persia in 1821 from Tiflis (Tbilisi), on the orders of the Crown Prince, ʿAbbās Mirzā. The Persian painter Allāhverdi who had studied lithography there, returned to Tabriz in March 1821 with a complete set of lithographic equipment (Akty, sobrannye kavkazskoyu arkheograficheskoyu komissieyu VI/2, pp. 238-39). The four volumes mentioned by Moḥammad-ʿAli Khan Tarbiyat (1934, p. 662), namely the two-volume of Majlesi's Ḥayāt al-qolub (I, pub. in 1240/1824-25; II, in 1241/1825-26), the Bustān of Saʿdi (1247/1831-32), and the Maḵāreq al-qolub of Nerāqi (1248/1832-33), were probably printed in Tabriz by this press.

What is certain is that in 1248/1832-33 a lithographic printing press began to operate in Tabriz. It was established through the efforts of Mirzā Ṣāleḥ Širāzi. In 1829, the equipment for the lithography and a printing specialist were presented as a gift to the Embassy of Ḵosrow Mirzā to Russia of which Mirzā Ṣāleḥ was a member (Rozanov, p. 225; Shcheglova, 1979, p. 31). The first books lithographed were the Qur’ān in 1248/1832-33 and the Zād al-maʿād of Majlesi in 1251/1836. The lithographer was Āqā-ʿAli b. Ḥājji Moḥammad-Ḥosayn al-Šarʿ Tabrizi (Tarbiyat, 1931, p. 450).

In Tehran, the first lithographed item was, the newspaper called Kāḡaḏ-e aḵbār (lit. newspaper) published by Mirzā Ṣāleḥ in 1837. There were only three issues, and these came out in Moḥarram-Jomādā I 1253/May-August 1837 (Ṣadr-Hāšemi I, no. 37). As far as printing of books is concerned, the first publications are datable to 1838. These were the Noḵba of Moḥammad-Ebrāhim Eṣfahāni (Mošār, col. 1571), the Soʾāl o javāb of Majlesi (Ibid, col. 909), and the kolliyāt of Hafez (Tarbiyat, 1931, p. 453). It is possible, however, that the first lithographed book was the Qur’ān, as reported by Il’ya Berezin (1819-96) who visited Tehran in 1843 and met Mirzā Ṣāleḥ there (Berezin, p. 248). Berezin also noted that the lithographic press remained mainly idle.

The first lithographic editions, as well as those typeset, were the work of printing enthusiasts who enjoyed the financial backing and patronage of such princely notables as ʿAbbās Mirzā in Tabriz and Manučehr Khan Moʿtamed-al-Dawla in Tehran. The number of published books remained therefore insignificant until the middle of the 1840s, when businessmen and booksellers began to realize the potential profits of the book printing trade. By late 1840s, there were already at least six lithographic printing houses at work in Tehran, and dozens of books were published (Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 33-34). From this time on, one can speak of regular lithographic book printing in Persia. The reasons for the success of the lithographic method of printing are obvious and well-known: simpler and cheaper equipment in comparison to that required for the typographic printing, availability of a large number of professional copyists, and the traditional culture of calligraphy. Although considerably less expensive than manuscripts, lithographed books retained the usual format of the handwritten codex in a sturdy binding.

Tehran and Tabriz remained the main centers of book printing to the end of the 19th century, but lithographic books were also printed in such provincial cities as Shiraz, Isfahan, Mashad (Mašhad), and Kashan (Kāšān). Yet, such local enterprises had, in all probability, originated in single commissions and were connected with the activities of local rulers or enthusiasts of lithography. Provincial Persian booksellers placed their orders for book printing either in Tehran or, in the case of those from Shiraz, in Bombay.

In the latter part of the 1840s, the State Printing House (dār al-ṭabāʿa-ye dowlati) began its work; and was operative until the end of the first decade of the 20th century. After the opening of the Dār al-fonun (the first modern polytechnic on European lines in Persia) in 1851, a lithographic press was established within it for printing teaching aids. Activities of these two printing houses were of some significance for the cultural and scientific life of Persia, since they published books on new subjects: manuals on exact and natural sciences, both translated and original, and works on history and geography.

In 1846 Sayyed Mirzā Jaʿfar Mošir-al-Dowla started working on a mathematics manual entitled Ketāb-e ḥesāb. A royal decree was issued ordering the manual to be printed at the State Printing House and distributed throughout the country. The book came out in 1847 (Shcheglova, 1975, no. 737, colophon; Mošār, col. 561; Storey II, p. 21). At that time, the manager of the lithographic press was Moḥammad-Wali Ṭabib-e Ordubādi, while his brother Mirzā Moḥammad was the lithographer.

Like other printing houses, the State Printing House produced various items, and publishing books was only a part of its activities. As of February 1851, the first Persian regular official newspaper Waqāyeʿ-e ettefāqiya was printed there. During this period, the lithographic facility was managed by Ḥājji ʿAbd-al-Moḥammad (Ṣadr-Hāšemi IV, no. 1160). In the period 1860-65, the head of the State Printing House, and of the Arts School too, was Mirzā Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḡaffāri Ṣaniʿ-al-Molk. After his death, his duties were transferred to the Minister for Sciences (wazir-e ʿolum) ʿAli-qoli Mirzā Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana, who was then the director of the Dār al-fonun as well. One of his many duties up to 1871 was the oversight of the State Printing House and all lithographic printing houses in the capital and in the provinces.

As an illustration of how infrequently books were published during the first years of the State Printing House’s activities, one could point to the fact that the first book under the supervision of Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḡaffāri came out as late as 1864, that is, four years after his appointment to the directorship of the press. This is recorded in the edition of the poem Farhang-e ḵodāparasti of Lesān-al-Molk (Shcheglova, 1975, No. 1338; idem, 1989, no. 437; FIGURE 1).

The situation changed under Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Ṣaniʿ-al-Dawla (as of 1304/1886-87 he bore the title of Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana), who was appointed Minister of Press (wazir-e enṭebāʿāt) in 1871. From 1288 until his death in 1896, he was the head of the publishing complex which included: the Dār al-ṭabāʿa-ye dowlati (the State Printing House with a lithography and a typographic press); the Dār al-tarjoma (the translation bureau); as well as editor of six official newspapers; and, after the death of ʿAli-qoli Mirzā Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana in 1881, the Dār al-taʾlif (the center for publications) as well. This was the period of active book publishing at the State Printing House.

The first book that came out at the State Printing House was, in all probability, the diary of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah’s pilgrimage to Karbalāʾ in September 1870-February 1871. The books were provided with an introduction and were edited by Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan who had accompanied the shah in his travels (Shcheglova, 1975, no. 134; idem, 1989, No. 62; Mošār, col. 964, printing house not mentioned). Another publication was the typeset edition of the diary of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah’s travel to Europe in April-September 1873, which came out in April 1874. This too was edited by Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan and typeset by Aršak Eslāmbuli (Shcheglova, 1989, no. 63; in Persian bibliographies, Istanbul [Eslāmbul] is erroneously mentioned as the place of publication).

From 1873 to 1906, the State Printing House had regularly prepared and published year-books (sāl-nāmas). The first two came out as separate volumes, while those that followed were annexed to multi-volume compositions also printed by the State Printing House. For more than twenty years, multi-volume works were published continuously, and their author was said to be the head of the Ministry of Press and Publications, Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Ṣaniʿ-al-Dowla Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana. The first in the series was a book printed in 1876. This contained an ancient history of the world, which had no special title; the Tāriḵ-e Irān which covered the history of Persia from the Arab conquest to the reign of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah; and the almanac for 1292/1875 (Shcheglova, 1989, no. 28; Mošār, cols. 299 and 349; Fehrest-e ketābhā-ye čāpi-e fārsi, col. 672; Storey-Bregel II, p. 711, III, p. 1457).

Other published works included well known scholarly titles: the Merʾat al-boldān (ʿMirror of countries’, a geographical dictionary) printed in 1877-80; the Tāriḵ-e montaẓam-e Nāṣeri printed in 1881-83; the Maṭlaʿ al-šams, a description of Khorasan printed in 1884-86; the Maʾāṯer wa'l-āṯār, a chronicle-almanac printed in 1889. Leaving aside the issue of the authorship, one must acknowledge that without the organizational skills of Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan these educative and informative works would have never been composed and published. The series of historical works published by the State Printing House came to an end with two volumes of the Tāriḵ-e salāṭin-e Sāsāni (ʿHistory of the Sasanian Rulers,’ printed in 1895-98). This was an expanded translation by of George Rawlinson's The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy, (Storey-Bregel II, p. 726). The translation was made by Moḥammad-ʿAli Khan Foruḡi, Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk (1877-1942). The Dār al-taʾlif (The bureau of publications) prepared six volumes of the biographical dictionary Nāma-ye dānešvarān-e Nāṣeri (vols. II-VII, printed in 1894-1906).

Besides historical compositions, the State Printing House also produced lithographed translations from European languages. A play of Fath-Ali Akhundov (Fatḥ-ʿAli Āḵundzāda) was translated into Persian by Mirzā Jaʿfar Qarājadāḡi as Hekāyat-e Mollā Ebrāhim-Ḵalil kimiāgar and printed in 1872 (Shcheglova, 1989, no. 648; Edwards, col. 207); the Sargoḏašt-e mestres Hurtasetet-ḵānom-e englisi dar Hendustān, was printed in 1887 (Shcheglova, 1989, no. 650; Edwards, col. 385; Mošār, col. 596; Fehrest-e ketābhā-ye čāpi-e fārsi, col. 1243); the Mémoires de Mademoiselle de Montpensier was inserted into the Tāriḵ-e Farānsa (History of France) and translated by Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan, printed in 1895; three volumes of the Ḵayrat al-ḥesān by Mehmet Zihni were translated from Turkish, and printed in 1886-90.

In addition to the diaries of the travels of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah mentioned earlier, descriptions of his travels to Māzandarān in 1877, to Khorasan in 1889, and to Europe in 1887, 1879, and 1891 were also printed.

The State Printing House ceased to function in the first decade of the 20th century. By that time, lithographic printing was being forced out by typeset printing, and from 1911 on, the official newspaper Irān was printed typographically.

As already mentioned, the lithography press of the Dār al-fonun (dār al-ṭabāʿa-ye maḵṣuṣa-ye mobāraka-ye dār al-fonun) was created during the period 1851-58 when Reżā-qoli Khan Hedāyat was its director (raʾis wa nāẓem). In the tenth volume of the Rawżat al-ṣafāʾ, in the section dedicated to the Dār al-fonun, Hedāyat writes that manuals on medicine by Jacob Eduard Polak (1818-91, resided in Persia until 1860) were printed both at the press at the Dār al-fonun and on his own (Hedāyat’s) press. Publication dates of the works by Polak are known, they came out in 1854-57. Earlier editions, including two treatises on artillery by Augustus Kržiž (1814-86, resided in Persia until 1859) were printed by the private lithography press of Moḥammad-Taqi b. Moḥammad-Mahdi Tabrizi in 1269/1852-53 (Shcheglova, 2002, no. 162; Edwards, col. 342, without mentioning the lithography). Some of the other educational manuals for the Dār al-fonun were also published later outside its own printing facilities. For example, the French grammar compiled by Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan came out at the State Printing House in 1876, and the entire print-run was given to the library of the Dār al-fonun (Shcheglova, 1989, no. 697; Mošār, col. 1300, under "Gerāmer" in Fehrest-e ketābhā-ye čāpi-e fārsi, col. 2709).

The bulk of the book production was published by private lithographic printing houses. In the period from the 30s of the 19th century up to the first decade of the 20th century inclusive, no less than thirty-three lithographic printing houses were at work in Tehran and no less than thirty in Tabriz (Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 211-13). The largest and the most long-lasting of them were eight in Tehran (see below), six of which are mentioned in the afterword to the Zinat al-majāles edited by Iraj Afšār (Zinat al-majāles, pp. 319-20), and seven in Tabriz (see below), four of which are likewise recorded in the afterword to the Zinat al-majāles. Private lithographic printing houses provided the book market with material on Shiʿite rites and creed, feqh, prayers, hagiographies of the Prophet and the Shiʿite martyrs, texts for the taʿzia performances, divāns of Persian classical poets, stories, and fairy tales. Books were printed in Persian and Arabic, and, in Tabriz, in Turkish too.

In Tehran, perhaps the largest of all the lithographic printing houses was that of Mir Bāqer (1850s-1880s) and his descendants. This printing house published works of 19th-century authors who had influenced the development of science and culture at the time. Books printed by Mir Bāqer are among the most outstanding publications of the time from the point of view of printing quality, setup, paper, and script. His son, Sayyed Mortażā (80s of the 19th century-first decade of the 20th century), increased the volume and widened the subject range of the books printed, but failed to surpass his father in craftsmanship.

According to Sayyed Ḥasan Taqizāda (p. 12), Mir Bāqer was a disciple of the first Persian printer Zayn-al-ʿĀbedin Tabrizi, and his lithographic equipment came from one of the first Persian lithographers Mollā ʿAbd-al-ʿAli, who had been the editor of Voltaire’s works printed in 1846. For the publication of his Rowżat al-ṣafāʾ, Reżā-qoli Khan Hedāyat acquired a lithographic press and invited Mir Bāqer to act as the lithographer. The cooperation of Hedāyat and Mir Bāqer continued later, and after the death of the former, Mir Bāqer printed Hedāyat’s work, Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ, in 1878. The lithographic printing house of Mir Bāqer produced several volumes of the Nāṣeḥ al-tawāriḵ by Sepehr, in particular, all the sections dedicated to the Qajars. Besides that, Mir Bāqer also published two works by ʿAli-qoli Mirzā Eʿteżad-al-Salṭana, the diary of the first travel of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah to Khorasan (1869), the Ganjina of Našāṭ, and many other works.

His sons succeeded the father in book printing business; the afterword to the Zinat al-majāles mentions Āqā Sayyed Ḥosayn, but it was his brother, the aforementioned Sayyed Mortażā, who was the more productive in output. The lithographic printing house of Sayyed Mortażā printed such famous works of contemporary authors as the Fārs-nāma-ye Nāṣeri of Fasāʾi (1895-96), the Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq of Maʿṣum ʿAlišāh (1898-1900), and the Tāriḵ-e bidāri-e Irāniān of Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermāni (1910). It also published such historical and poetical classics as ʿĀlam-ārā-ye ʿAbbāsi of Eskandar-Beg Monši (1896), and the Šāh-nāma of Ferdowsi (the famous edition of Amir Bahādor, 1901-05; FIGURE 2).

The lithographic printing house of Āqā-Mirzā Ḥabib-Allāh (1882-1900), a lithographer employed at the State Printing House between 1892-87, was active for about two decades. Here they lithographed the Tāriḵ-e Beyhaqi (1890, the text was edited by Sayyed Aḥmad Adib Pišāvari), the Maṯnawi-e maʿnawi of Rumi (1890, edited by Mirzā Abu’l-Ḥasan Jalva Eṣfahāni; FIGURE 3 and FIGURE 4), and other medieval and contemporary works. One of the best books printed by the lithographer, the Pand-nāma-ye Yaḥyawia (1898), addressed to his son Yaḥyā by Amir Neẓām-e Garrusi (1828-1900) contains a fine portrait of the author.

Lithographic printing house of ʿAli-qoli Khan Qājār survived for more than forty years (1855-98). His editions were distinguished by the high quality of the printing and their elegant script; the best known of them are the Farhang-e anjomanārā-ye Nāṣeri of Hedāyat (1871), and the first volume of the biographical dictionary entitled Nāma-ye dānešvarān-e Nāṣeri (1879).

Activities of the lithographic printing house of Allāh-qoli Khan Qājār spanned more than thirty years (middle of the 1850s to late 1880s). In 1869-70 it printed the work of the contemporaneous philosopher Hādi Sabzavāri entitled Asrār al-ḥekam.

The afterword to the Zinat al-majāles (1305/1887-88) praises the quality of books lithographed at the “Karbalāʾi” printing house of Moḥammad-Ḥosayn where the book itself was printed. This lithographic printing house had been in business for almost four decades (1861-99). It was an ordinary commercial enterprise whose range of publications was not distinguished by any originality and the quality of production was mediocre. Two publications deserve being mentioned: the abovementioned play of Akhundov translated by Mirzā Jaʿfar Qarājadāḡi, and the richly illustrated narrative Eskandar-nāma which was printed in 1897-99 and contains 107 illustrations and four head-pieces (ʿonwān).

The workshop (kārḵāna) “Karbalāʾi” of Moḥammad-Taqi b. Moḥammad-Mahdi Tabrizi existed for half-a-century (1852-1902). It was there that the two treatises of A.Kržiž on artillery, mentioned earlier, were lithographed. One of the best works of this printing house was the first edition of the Nāma-ye ḵosrovān of Jalāl-al-Din Mirzā Qājār), published in 1868.

The major part of production of lithographic printing houses of Mašhadi Taqi (1878-90) and Mašhadi Ḵodādād (1884-1915) was presented by popular works of belles-lettres, of both known and anonymous authors, which were targeted at the lower echelons of the society. These publications were ordered by booksellers exclusively. The quality of books produced by Mašhadi Taqi was good, while that of Mašhadi Ḵodādād’s was low (FIGURE 5 and FIGURE 6).

Tabriz was the first Persian city where the typeset book printing and then the lithographic book printing began. The pioneer of printing from Tabriz, Āqā ʿAli b. Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Amin-al-Šarʿ, did the typesetting of the Jehādiya in 1818, and in 1843 he had a lithographic printing house of his own. The family of Amin-al-Šarʿiya had been in the business of lithographic book printing for about a century, from the 30s of the 19th century up to the middle of the 30s of the 20th century. The works of Āqā Reżā and his son, Asad Āqā, are noted by their high quality of printing. As an example, one can refer to the publication of Ḥedāyat’s Ajmal al-Tawāriḵ (FIGURE 7) and of the two-volume book Emteḥān al-fożalā’ of the calligrapher Sanglāḵ (1874 and 1878; FIGURE 8, FIGURE 9, and FIGURE 10).

The lithographic printing house of the bookseller Ḥājji Mirzā Āqā Tabrizi Moʾayyed-al-ʿOlamāʾ, which is named first in the afterword to the Zinat al-majāles, was producing traditional range of literature: theology, feqh, hagiography, manuals, prose, poetry, and fairy tales. The printing house, the quality of whose productions was not impressive, was active between 1870 and 1914. The lithographic printing house of Ḥājji Ebrāhim in Tabriz had been at work for three decades (1861-91), and Ḥājji Aḥmad-Āqā, the son of its founder, succeeded his father in the business.

The heyday of lithography as the most favored type of book printing in Persia lasted from the 70s-80s of the 19th century up to the first decade of the 20th century. During this time, almost all books were produced lithographically. Private typographies were created in the beginning of the 20th century, but it was only the handwritten books that could compete with the lithographed books. The handwritten method of copying books had been in use in parallel to the lithographic one, and, according to the observation by Yu.N.Marr, as late as in 1925 the easiest way to get a required composition was to order it copied by a scribe (Marr, p. 271). Marr also mentions that, at that time, a half of book production was still done lithographically. Nevertheless, in the 1920s the typeset printing got an upper hand over the lithographic printing. In 1926, twenty-two typographic printing houses functioned in Tehran, while the number of their lithographic competitors at that time was only four (Taʿlim o tarbiyat, pp. 560-61).

Lithographic book production was heterogeneous in its subjects, time of writing of compositions (contemporary works made up only a part of it), level of text preparation, and technical execution. Authors, scholars, professional and amateur editors, calligraphers, and booksellers, all could participate in the publication of books. However, the overwhelming majority of editions were made through the efforts of three categories of people: customers-booksellers, copyists, and lithographers. With rare exceptions (Browne, p. 602; Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 82-84), the lithographic printing house was merely the site of printing. The preparatory stages (selection of manuscript copies, verification of the text, and copying) were the duty of the customer. Such state of affaires is reflected in the afterword to the Zinat al-majāles, and it remained unchanged until the 1920s (Marr, p. 279).

The active role of booksellers in the lithographic book printing is clearly manifested in the more than eighty names of booksellers that appear in this context, and one can trace the activities of some of them, like Āqā Musā, Sayyed Aḥmad Ṭehrāni, Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Amin-al-Tojjār Ṭehrāni (FIGURE 11), Mollā ʿAli-Akbar, Šeyḵ Reżā, and others, through several decades. One of the first of those who engaged in the book business was Āqā Musā (1850s-1880s). In the edition of the Ganjina of Nešāṭ (1865), he placed a list of books offered by him for sale. The list includes 320 books in Persian and 14 books in Arabic (Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 106, 157-58; Marzolph, pp. 223-28).

An important book publisher was Mollā Maḥmud Ḵᵛānsāri (d. 1928). He is best remembered as the publisher of the Tāriḵ-e ʿālamārā-ye ʿAbbāsi of Eskandar-Beg Monši (Yāddāšthā-ye Qazvini, p. 244; Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 107-8), as well as for arranging the publication of the Maṯnawi of Rumi compiled by Mirzā Abu’l-Ḥasan Jalva Eṣfahāni (Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 85-86).

Provincial booksellers too were engaged in book publishing. Since book printing had been mainly developed in Tehran and Tabriz, provincial booksellers placed their orders in these two cities. Often, book publishers from the capital played the role of mediators between the customers (provincial booksellers) and the lithographers.

Hundreds of scribes had been engaged in lithographic book printing, including both acknowledged masters of calligraphy and ordinary craftsmen and amateurs. As in other crafts, the handing down of the family business from father to son(s) can be seen in the lithographic business as well. One can also detect an element of traditional continuity in various professional occupations of those who originated from provincial cities, such as Ḵᵛānsār, Golpāyegān, Tafreš, Ṭāleqān, and others (Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 113-28). The scribes were not members of the staff of the lithographic printing houses, except for those who were employed by a state institution (printing houses, newspaper editorships). They could perform requests from private persons.

During several decades, the following scribes had been engaged in lithographic book production: ʿAli-Asḡar Tafreši (1840s-70s, one of the best masters of nastaʿliq; Bayāni, no. 614; FIGURE 12); Naṣr-Allāh Tafreši (1840s-80s; Idem, no. 1444); Mirzā Āqā Kamaraʾi (1860s-80s; Idem, no. 8); Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Golpāyegāni (1850s-early 20th century, master of nasḵ; Idem, no. 427). An acknowledged master of nastaʿliq was Mirzā Moḥammad-Reżā Kalhor (d. 1892-93; Idem, no. 1050; FIGURE 13). He had a disciple, Zayn-al-ʿĀbedin Qazvini Malek-al-Ḵaṭṭāṭin (1890s-late 1920s; Idem, no. 359), who succeeded his teacher at the official service in the Šaraf newspaper. Sayyed Mortażā Baraḡāni had worked in book publishing for almost fifty years (1880s-late 1920s; Idem, no. 1345). He had frequently acted as both publisher and commentator and also left behind a guide on calligraphy entitled Bedāya-ye Sayyed (Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 125-27). An outstanding master of nastaʿliq from Tabriz was ʿAskar Ordubādi (1840s-60s; Bayāni, no. 598). Moḥammad-ʿAli b. Moḥammad-Šafiʿ from Tabriz was an excellent master of nasḵ and copied the Ajmal al-tawāriḵ and the ʿEšq-nāma (FIGURE 7, FIGURE 14, and FIGURE 15), as well as the two-volume work by Sanglāḵ referred to earlier (FIGURE 8, FIGURE 9, and FIGURE 10).

During the era of lithographic book printing, the number of published contemporary works was on the increase in every decade, but still most of the books printed were old texts, and the question of the quality of the text was not always uppermost in the minds of the publishers. Nonetheless, the attempt to adhere as closely as possible to the original text by the author was a consideration. As a rule, the printed version of the text was based on a single manuscript, sometimes very old and close to author’s lifetime. This copy would be collated with other copies of the text, from which additions were made, in as much as scribes’ errors corrected and obsolete words substituted by modern ones. However, there was no attempt to insert a full critical apparatus. In some cases, the published edition was provided with a foreword that contained information about author’s life and the significance of the work taken from authoritative sources; with a corrigenda frequently appended to the end of the book. Some lithographic publications were the product of scholarly editing made either by a separate publisher, or by a group of people.

The lithographic period in the history of book printing in Persia was also an important stage in the history of culture of the country. The process of formation of secular education and spread of scientific knowledge is inseparably connected with the lithographic book. Lithographic books reflected the development of social thought in the 19th century, as well as achievements in the fields of literature, history, science, and publishing. Moreover, they helped to prolong the traditional culture of calligraphy in Persia.


Akty, sobrannye Kavkazskoyu arkheograficheskoyu komissieyu. Arkhiv Glavnago Upravleniya Namestnika Kavkazskago (Acts collected by the Caucasian Archaeographic Commission. The Archive of the Central Administrative Board of the Caucasian General-Governor), ed. A.Bergé, vols. I-IX, Tiflis, 1866-84, vol. VI/2, Tiflis, 1875. Editorial remark: the Russian title is given in its original form, according to old (pre-1917-18) grammar rules in Russian.

Mehdi Bayāni, Ahwāl wa āṯār-e ḵošnevisān, 4 vols., 2nd ed., Tehran, 1984.

I.Berezin, Puteshestvie po severnoĭ Persii (Travel in Northern Persia), Kazan, 1852.

E.G.Browne, A Year amongst the Persians (1887-1888), Cambridge, 1926.

E.M.A.Edwards, A Catalogue of the Persian Printed Books in the British Museum, London, 1922.

Fehrest-e ketābhā-ye čāpi-e fārsi az āḡāz tā āḵar-e sāl-e 1345. Bar asās-e fehrest-e Ḵānbābā Mošār wa fahāres-e anjoman-e ketāb (A Bibliography of Persian Printed Books (1808-1967)), 3 vols., Tehran, 1973.

Reżā-qoli Ḵān Hedāyat, Rowżat al-ṣafā-ye Nāṣeri, vol. X, Tehran, 1274/1857, lithography with no internal pagination.

Yu.N.Marr, Stat’i i soobshcheniya (Articles and Presentations), vol. 2, Moscow and Leningrad, 1939.

Ulrich Marzolph, “Persian Popular Literature,” Asian Folklore Studies 60, 2001, pp. 215-36.

Ḵānbābā Mošār, Fehrest-e ketābhā-ye čāpi-e fārsi (A Bibliography of Books Printed in Persian), 2 vols., Tehran, 1958-63.

M.G.Rozanov, “Persidskoe posol’stvo v Rossii v 1829 g. (Po bumagam grafa P.P.Sukhtelena)” (Persian Embassy in Russia in 1829 (On the Basis of Papers of Count P.P.Sukhtelen), Russkiĭ arkhiv, 1889, no. 2, pp. 209-60.

Moḥammad Ṣadr-Hāšemi, Tāriḵ-e jarāʾed wa majallāt-e Irān, 4 vols., Isfahan, 1956-1959.

O.P.Shcheglova, Katalog litografirovannykh knig na persidskom yazyke v sobranii Leningradskogo otdeleniya Instituta vostokovedeniya AN SSSR (Catalogue of lithographed books in the Persian language in the collection of Leningrad branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR), 2 vols., Moscow, 1975.

Idem, Iranskaya litografirovannaya kniga (iz istorii knizhnogo dela v Irane v XIX-pervom desyatiletii XX veka) (Iranian lithographed book [from the history of book business in Iran in the 19th-first decade of the 20th century]), Moscow, 1979.

Idem, Katalog litografirovannykh knig na persidskom yazyke v sobranii Vostochnogo otdela nauchnoĭ biblioteki im. A. M. Gor’kogo Leningradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta (Catalogue of lithographed books in the Persian language in the collection of the Oriental Department of the Scientific Library named after A.M. Gorky of the Leningrad State University), Moscow, 1989.

Idem Katalog litografirovannykh knig na persidskom yazyke: iz sobraniya Rossiĭskoĭ Natsional’noĭ Biblioteki (Catalogue of lithographed books in the Persian language: from the collection of the National Library of Russia), Moscow, 2002.

C.A.Storey, Persian Literature. A Bio-bibliographical Survey, vols. I and II, London, 1927-71; tr. Yu.E.Bregel’ as Persidskaya literatura. Bio-bibliograficheskiĭ obzor, 3 vols., Moscow, 1972.

Taʿlim o tarbiyat, 3rd year, 1928, nos. 11-12, pp. 560-61.

Sayyed Ḥasan Taqizāda, “Čāpḵāna wa ruznāma dar Irān,” Kāva, dowra-ye dovvom, 1917, no. 5, pp. 11-41.

Moḥammad ʿAli-ḵān Tarbiyat, “Mabdaʾ-e tāriḵ-e irānšenāsi dar Orupā,” Armaḡān, 12th year, 1931, no. 6, pp. 369-81; no. 7, pp. 448-56.

Idem, “Tāriḵ-e maṭbaʿa wa maṭbuʿāt dar Irān,” Taʿlim o tarbiyat, 4th year, 1934, no. 11, pp. 657-64; no. 12, pp. 721-24.

Yāddāšthā-ye Qazvini, ed. I.Afšār, vol. 8, Tehran, 1966.

“Zinat al-majāles-e čāp-e sangi-e Ṭehrān 1305 hejri,” Rāhnamāye ketāb, 1st year, 1958, no. 3, pp. 319-20.

(Olimpiada P. Shcheglova)

Originally Published: August 15, 2009

Last Updated: August 15, 2009

Cite this entry:

Olimpiada P. Shcheglova, “LITHOGRAPHY i. IN PERSIA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at (accessed on 30 June 2012).