We have made exciting additions to our special collections in the form of a photo album from Soviet Tajikistan and three rare coins, including a (Nizari) copper coin possibly struck at Alamut.

The development and study of primary sources that illuminate the heritage of Ismaili communities in different parts of the world has been an integral part of the IIS’s work since inception. The Ismaili Special Collections Unit (ISCU) was established in 2013 to help fulfil this aim by developing, preserving, studying and facilitating research on the special collections housed at the IIS.

The latest additions to the special collections are:

Photographic Collection

A Camel walking in a desert with people on its back (image from a coin)

Photo Album from Soviet Tajikistan

Photo album, ‘Pamir’, c.1930s, includes photographs of the Shughnan and Rushan regions of Soviet Tajikistan.

Containing around 100 photographs, the album highlights the social and cultural life of the people of Badakhshan, including images of children, musicians, local famous dancers and religious dignitaries. Photographs of the remains of the Vamar castle, which used to be the residence of the local rulers, are also included, along with the castle of Bar-Panja, the residence of the local rulers of Shughnan.

Numismatic Collection

Unique Copper Coin

Coin from the reign of Muhammad III ibn al-Hasan (ruled AH 618-658), c. AH 618-653, possibly minted in Kursi al-Daylam (Throne of Daylam).

Gold Coin Citing the Abbasid Caliph Al-Nasir Li-Din Allah

Coin from the reign of Muhammad III ibn al-Hasan (ruled AH 618-658), possibly dated AH 618 and minted in or south of Khorasan.

Silver Coin from the Reign of Buwayhid Ruler Abu Kalijar

Dirham from the reign of Buwayhid Ruler, Abu Kalijar (ruled AH 415-440), dated AH 433 and minted in al-Basra.

Our special collections include nearly 3,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Indic languages. They also feature rare and special printed materials, archives, artefacts, audio-visual items, memorabilia, coins and photographs related to Ismaili studies and general titles on aspects of Islamic history and thought. The recent additions will enhance this unique collection.

ISCU are also in the process of launching a collections management system featuring images and details of IIS’s special collections for researchers and anyone else interested in accessing the resources. More details will follow.

Watch video on ISCU

For more information, contact naureenali@iis.ac.uk.