Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Turkish MS 3 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Turkish Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A version in Chagatai Turkish of the love story of Layla and Majnun, by Alî Şîr Nevâʿî of Herat, with two miniatures in the Herat style. It was originally part of a Khamsa (quintet). Other manuscripts from the same set are in the Bodleian Library, these were copied in Afghanistan in 890 AH (1485 CE).
Incipit: اى يخشى اتيك بيل سر اغاز انجامى غه كيم يتار بر اغاز (folio 1b)
Explicit: عصيا نيما عفو بولغاى ايين يا رب كه بو نوع بولغاى امين (folio 48b)
Language(s): Chagatai Turkish
Filiation: The other four volumes from the set are Bodleian MS. Elliot 287, 408, 317 and 339.

Begins and ends as in Levend's edition.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Polished white paper edged with gold-speckled tinted paper margins. Folios 8, 11, 38, 41 and 43-45 are not original (white European paper, probably early 19th century, watermarked RUSE & TURNERS.
Extent: iv+48+iii folios
Dimensions (binding): 279 × 197 mm.
Dimensions (written): 155 × 106 mm.


21 lines, 4 columns


Small nastaʻlīq of high calligraphic standard.


Timurid period illumination (including a decorative header with 'Kufic' style calligraphy on folio 1b, with two Herat style miniatures on folios 16b (a camp scene showing Laylá and Majnūn fainting) and 34a (Majnūn visited by the camel-rider).


Rebound in marbled boards with green leather backing.


Origin: 890 AH (1485 CE), ; Afghanistan. Executed for Prince Badi’ al-Zaman Mirza (d 1514), son of Sultan Husayn Mirza of Herat.

Provenance and Acquisition

Bookplate of Sir Gore Ouseley, first baronet, 1770-1844, and a summary description in English in his hand dated Hall Barn Park, 1838.

Formerly in the collection of the Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), whose oriental manuscripts were sold after his death through Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1908 to the John Rylands Library.

Record Sources

Catalogue information compiled by Elizabeth Gow from Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2011 and B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library, 1980.


To book an in-person or online appointment to consult the manuscript, visit Using the Special Collections Reading Rooms. For any other enquiries please email uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk.


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