The book market of Bukhara

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There was a large trade of books in the central cities of the Central Asian khanates in the late XIX – early XX centuries. Shops of the manuscripts from India, Turkey and Kazan were located in Bukhara caravanserai near Tim Abdulla Khan. Huge amount of textbooks, manuals, books on history, Sufism, medicine, poetry were brought to Bukhara from Bombay lithographs were in Persian and Arabic languages of good quality.

Lithographs of Iran and Tashkent were less common, as they were more expensive than India. They were printed on a high quality Russian paper, and books published in India were printed on thin yellow paper, which is called "jaydari" on the language of the local people. Lithographs and prints reduced the price of the manuscripts. There were manuscripts which were rewritten on the old yellowed paper instead of the previously known types on high-quality paper such as "ipak", "kanabi", "khon baligi". The manuscripts were not widespread; they were prepared by the order.

The largest book market in Bukhara

The eastern books were sold in various cities of emirate. For example, Mullo Najmiddin built bookstore in Karshi. They began to sell not only books but also antique items such as coins since the late of XIX century. The larges antiques market was in Bukhara. Such markets were in Karshi and Shakhrisabz. Trading of rare books, manuscripts, antiquities were inherent for the countries that had educational historical processes. Books and other products purchased in Bukhara were exported to Russia and they replenished the funds of libraries and museums.
Indians also were engaged in selling books in Bukhara since the middle of XIX century. Along with the local people they sold the cheap books published in India and Arabic countries. In addition, periodicals and books were imported from Turkey and the Caucasus. There are the evidences that the books were brought in Khujand from Constantinople and Alexandria in the 50s of XIX century. At the same period the publishers began to publish the books on the market. Handwritten books were sold in all cities of Central Asia (except Ettisuva and Caspian regions).
Book trading was arranged in large scale in Bukhara and Karshi, there were special rows at the markets of these cities for the selling manuscripts and printed books.
In Bukhara emirate the book trade and custom duties weren't taxable. Book selling was organized near Jami Mosque before prayer. In Bukhara it was also allowed to sell books in Toki Zargaron and in other trade rows.

Improvements about book market

Lithographs from Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Russia, the Volga area, Crimean peninsula, Paris, London and Germany were brought particularly to Bukhara Emirate in this period in Central Asia. Most of the books imported from Europe and Russia were kept in the library of the Turkistan Governor-General. Books published in Islamic countries, in Arabic, Persian, Kazakh, Azeri and Turkish languages were distributed in the Emirate.
Books-lithography from India (mainly from Bombay), Istanbul, Egypt (Cairo) and Kabul have played an important role in the development of the spiritual life of Muslims: they were distributed throughout the Central Asia – from Kashgar to Khiva.[2] Also the commentaries on the history of books published in Bombay “Tarikhi Nigoriston”, “Miftakhul-Tavorikh”, the work of Ferdousi “Shakhname” and “Ravzatul-Saffo”, “Sunnayi Abu Dovud”, “Giesul-lugot”, work of Zhoberdy “Sharkhri mullah” and other literature[3] are were sold.[4]
Book trading has opened the wide way for the entering manuscripts and books of various contents in Bukhara, and the selling of the rare manuscripts was the cause of their export to abroad.

See also


  1. Extra information is taken from "Moziydan Sado" magazine,2002
  2. Information about Khiva is in "Bukhara",1999
  3. Ferdousi "Shakhname","Ravzatul-Saffo", "Sunnayi Abu Dovud" taken "Firdavse"
  4. "Tarikhi Nigoriston","Miftakhul-Tavorikh","Miftakhul-Tavorikh","Ravzatul-Saffo" are in "Uzbek literature",1990