The Deed of Endowment of the Rab' i-Rashidi (Persian: وقفنامه ربع رشیدی), a 13th-century manuscript, was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2007. The Memory of the World register is a program proposed by the International Advisory Committee in 1992 and endorsed by the Director-General of UNESCO. The purpose of this project is to preserve the documentary heritage and ease of access to them, as well as to prevent illegal trade, looting, dispersal, and destruction of this valuable heritage. The most important criteria for selecting these works are global importance and outstanding value at the international level.
Tabriz was the capital of the Mongol dynasty in Iran about 700 years ago. This city was an intellectual and cultural hub under the role of Il-Khan Mahmud Ghazan (1295-1304). Ghazan Khan’s minister, Khajeh Rashid al-Din Fazlollah Hamadani, was a brilliant doctor and mathematician. He authored the monumental Persian-language history and founded an academic complex known as the Rab' i-Rashidi on the outskirts of Tabriz. This vast complex included a papermaking, library, teaching hospital, orphanage, caravanserai, textile factory, teachers’ training school, and seminary that attracted students and thinkers from different places as far away as China. The purpose of this endowment was to ensure that the treasure of written works authored by Rashid al-Din or under his ownership, could be copied and be protected against destruction.
Afghanistan, Asia Minor, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Islamic Republic. Iran, Iraq, and Syria. This edition is arranged in 382 pages. The first 290 pages of which are written by Rashid al-Din himself and the rest by the ruler of Tabriz and two writers. This manuscript enjoys global significance due to the vastness of endowed lands and their high value, as well as the high position of Rab' i-Rashidi. The endowment institution is also one of the main pillars of Islamic society, and therefore, this Deed provides an important report of political and economic administration in Central Asia at a time of great dynamism and change.
Historical records indicate that five copies of the original were made under the supervision of Rashid al-Din, the only surviving copy of this endowment. This manuscript was recognized and registered as a national heritage in 1975.
The significance of the Deed of Endowment of the Rab' i-Rashidi can be easily recognized by the gorgeous and costly materials used in its execution. The title page is elaborately designed with gilded calligraphy. In 1971 a facsimile of the manuscript was printed and 1000 copies published for scholarly reference. The original manuscript is kept sealed in the Manuscripts Section of the Central Library in Tabriz, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This vast complex included a paper mill, a library, a teaching hospital, an orphanage, an inn, a textile factory, a teacher training school, and a school of theological sciences, and attracted scholars and thinkers from as far away as China. The purpose of this endowment was to ensure that the treasures written by Rashid al-Din or under his ownership were copied and saved from destruction.