The booklet originally contained more folios, but some ten of them were torn off long ago and part of the writings on the recto of folio two have been clumsily erased. According to an inscription dated 19 Sha‘ban 1317 / 23 December 1899 / 2 Dey 1278 at the beginning of the booklet, the items bought for Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah in Europe were to be recorded on a folio at the right hand end of the booklet, and those arriving from Europe through other sources opposite it (on the left). Today, if indeed this recording was continued, nothing except the above-mentioned two folios remains from that list. On the recto of folio one, one reads: “He is the Supreme God / The list of goods and objects ordered in European countries will be written in this booklet, and continued on a new page whenever one is filled. 19 Sha‘ban 1317.”, followed by “From Paris, from Yamin-os-Saltaneh”. Thus, Aqa Yamin-os-Saltaneh, the Iranian plenipotentiary in Paris, is instructed to have the items listed below sent to Iran: broadcloth, ribbons and buttons for the royal horse-carriage attendants, paper and envelopes to be printed with individual and group portraits of His Majesty, and “two cameras were ordered in Paris / Monday 6 Ramazan 1317 (8 January 1900 / 8 Dey 1278)”. Here, of course, a photographic camera is meant, rather than a cinema camera. On the left hand side, on the next folio (2R), first comes a list of items ordered by the Shah in London and delivered, including a fountain pen (stylo), entrusted to the care of the rakht-dar (garments chamberlain), and “cast iron kitchen utensils […] which […] may be installed in two separate rooms. 5 Shavval al-Mokarram [6 February 1900 / 17 Bahman 1278], Tunguz-Yl […] now enter the andarun” The importance of these apparently worthless documents should not remain unnoticed by those studying modernity in Iran and the evolution of the history of its instruments of penmanship, cookery, etc., followed by a document which interests us here, and which reads:
“Complete with their large baudruche (covers?), the three si-no-fotokraf [cinématographe] sets, that is the electric moving lanter majik [lanterne magique] machines which His Majesty had ordered one year ago in Paris and had been brought in His illustrious presence on Sunday 10 Shavval al-Mokarram Tunguz-Yl 1317 [11 February 1900 / 22 Bahman 1278], are in compliance with the description and bill of sale submitted by Sani‘-os-Saltaneh and preserved by E‘temad-Hozur. The entire equipment is now the property of the Exalted Photographic House.”
It is noteworthy that three of the seven items listed belong to photography and cinema, and, as already mentioned, this indicates Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah’s keen interest in photography. Almost every page of the Shah’s accounts of his travels to Europe also bears allusions to photography. In such an atmosphere, it is only natural that, after the appearance of the cinématographe in Iran, films were both shown and made here, although nothing is known of such works. The positive trend of affairs became well apparent in the following months and, as we shall describe, six months later Mirza-Ebrahim-Khan ‘Akkas-bashi As I was recently informed by Farrokh Ghaffari, Mirza-Ebrahim must still be assumed to have been born in Rajab 1291 (13 August to 12 September 1874 / 23 Mordad to 21 Shahrivar 1253) in Tehran, and that the date of his death must still be considered to have occurred in “1333 AH (1294 AS / 1915 AD)” in Chaboksar. Several of Farrokh Ghaffari’s writings concern his biography and their essence appears in Jamal Omid’s Tarikh-e Sinema-ye Iran, pp. 22-24 (the dates mentioned in this book will be corrected in its next printing). These abstracts were published in Film monthly’s special issue on the centenary of Iranian cinema (p. 21), and the old date of 1333 still appears in his text in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. I, p. 719, which must be corrected. Ghaffari has also recently written an article that will appear in the collection The Qajar Epoch, Arts and Architecture, under preparation in London by the Iran Heritage Foundation under P. Luft’s and my own supervision. Also see Yahya Zoka’, pp. 113-116.—the son of Mirza-Ahmad-Khan Sani‘-os-Saltaneh—began making films in Ostend, Belgium.
The type of apparatus sent to Iran is recorded as “cinématographe” Even the first part of the word “cinématographe” had entered Farsi through the French “cinéma”. A Persian description of its operation was published in 1325 / 1907 / 1268, some ninety-nine years ago, by Mirza-‘Ali-Mohammad-Khan Oveissi in Baku, and reproduced in Film Monthly, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Iranian cinema. See list of sources and references, under ‘Ali-Mohammad-Khan Oveissi.