Tašrīḥ al-aqwām | Monography or Translations of known period | Treatises of mixed contents | Survey | Perso-Indica

Treatises of mixed contents

Monography or Translations of known period
James Skinner, Tašrīḥ al-aqwām

[Preliminary Entry] The Tašrīḥ al-aqwām (Description of castes) is a voluminous treatise on the Indian castes, professions and religious orders. The text, divided into three parts (faṣl), was completed in 1825 at Hansi (Haryana) by James Skinner (1778-1841) and is based on Sanskrit sources which were translated into Persian for him. Skinner was the son of a Scottish officer and a Rajput mother and in 1830 wrote another Persian work, the Taḏkira al-umarā (Ms. London, British Library, Add. 24,051), an account of the princely dynasties of the Rajput and Sikh regions. Both works were dedicated to Major-General Sir John Malcolm (1769-1833), a Scot who knew Persian and was sent on a diplomatic mission to Iran and later became the governor of Bombay (1827-1830). The Tašrīḥ al-aqwām is illustrated with one hundred and four miniatures made by local artists.

F. S. 

i) Place of copying; ii) Period of copying; iii) Copyist; iv) Commissioner;
v) Information on colophon; vi) Description of miniatures/illustrations; vii) Other remarks; viii) Information on catalogue(s)

Illustrated manuscript: 

London, British Library, Add. 27,255, 462 ff.

, i) Hansi, ii)


, viii)

Rieu, vol. 1, pp. 65-67



Rieu, Charles, 1879-1883, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols., London.

Main Persian Title: Tašrīḥ al-aqwām
English Translation of Main Persian Title: Description of castes
Author: James Skinner
Year / Period of Composition: 1825
Place: Hansi 
Dedicatee: Sir John Malcolm (1769-1833)