The bequest of Alexander Kégl also enriched the collections of the Library of the Academy with extremely valuable Oriental manuscripts. Both their languages and their subjects reflect Kégl’s many-sided interest as well as the fact that their purchase was driven by the desire to study the works rather than by an aesthetic approach or a bibliophile’s passion.
Of course, Kégl as an Iranist was mainly interested in manuscripts of Persian literature of which 59 were preserved in his bequest. Some of these, as well as their authors – e.g. Emir Khusraw (O. 65; O. 71; O 77; O. 79) or the Bhagavadgītā (O. 75) – were also subjects of his studies and lectures. An interesting feature of this latter manuscript is that it also contains the Arabic transcription of the original Sanskrit text alongside with the Persian translation. The works considered by Kégl as important exist in more than one copy in the library, including Jami’s Yusuf and Zalikha (O. 84; O 85) or Sacadi’s Gulistān (O. 61; O.82). Besides the divans of renowned Persian poets, the collection also includes the gems of mystical literature as well as some works of history, lexicography and grammar. The oldest Persian manuscript of the Oriental Collection, the Kalila va Dimna (O. 57), copied in 1319, is also from the Kégl library.
Besides his remarkable collection of Persian manuscripts he also
enriched our library with a number of Hindustani and Turkish ones. All these
Oriental manuscripts were purchased not only during his Persian journey, but
also through booksellers and antiquarians both at home and abroad.