Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 180 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The second volume of the Rawz̤at al-Ṣafā (Garden of Purity), a general history from the creation of the world to the time of the author. Later combined with other disparate volumes, Persian MS 179, 181, and 182, as an incomplete set.
Scribe: ‘Ayn al-Dīn
Colophon: Folio 313a: completed in the month of Rajab 1166 AH (May 1753 CE) by the scribe ‘Ayn al-Dīn
Language(s): Persian

Uniformly bound with Persian MS 181; however, 182 comports with Persian MS 802, while 179 appears to be a separate addition.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Medium-weight, straight-grained, butter-coloured paper probably handmade in India, sized and polished with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 314 folios (ff. v + 314 + iii)
Dimensions (leaf): 377 × 230 mm.
Dimensions (written): 255 × 147 mm.

Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Text block in excellent condition.


Written in 1 columns with 29 lines per page. Ruled with a maṣṭārah hand guide.


Written in a very clear nasta‘liq in black with subheaders in red by the scribe ‘Ayn al-Dīn.


Illuminated header on folio 1b, with gilt marginal ruling throughout.


Evidently rebound as a set for former owner Archibald Swinton after his return to Britain in 1766. Abbreviated resewing on six cords, laced into pasteboard, edges trimmed and marbled with a loose serpentine pattern drawn over a stone design in yellow, green, black, and red. Decorative front-bead decorative endbands sewn in red and yellow silk threads. Covered in full, bright green calfskin leather, tight-backed and tight-jointed, with 'Old Dutch' patterned marbled endpapers.

Spine fully gilt, with Swinton's arms blocked on gold on skiver leather labels applied to the top panel. Gilt floriate chain borders on the board perimeters, with floral sprig corners, and board edges tooled with a leaf-and-dart roll.

388 × 249 × 60 mm.

Handle with caution. Exterior and board edges abraded, and joints cracked.


Folio 1a impressed with two seal impressions of former owners impressed in black.

  • Partially legible, rectangular seal impression, intaglio-carved in three stacked lines, double-ruled, on the upper-left corner ‘...khān [Ḥ]usayn Bahādur’.

    12 × 13 mm.

  • At top, a large rectangular seal impression of former owner Captain Archibald Swinton, intaglio-carved in nasta'liq script in two stacked lines, double-ruled, dated 1174 AH (1760–61 CE): ‘ارچبالد سوینتن رستم جنگ بهادر ۱۱۷۴’

    21 × 26 mm.


Origin: Probably India; completed in Rajab 1166 AH (May 1753 CE) by the scribe ‘Ayn al-Dīn.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Captain Archibald Swinton (1731–1804), who served in the East India Company from 1752 to 1766, initially served as a surgeon, then later interpreter and emmisary for Lord Robert Clive (1725–1774), when the latter become the first Governor of the Bengal Presidency. He returned to Britain after amassing a significant collection of manuscripts and works of art, and subsequently commissioned the rebinnding of this volume with the others, as evinced by his Anglo-Persian seal impression, bookplates and arms blocked on the uppermost spine panel.

After his death, his family sold his collection at Christie's, London on 6 June 1810, where an unidentified indivudal purchased it.

Subsequently acquired by Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), after whose death London antiquarian dealer Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866.

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

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the volume.


The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader, see Becoming a Reader for details. Please contact uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.


    Christie's, London. A Catalogue of a very valuable collection of Persian, and a few Arabic MSS. selected many years ago, in the East, by Archibald Swinton, Esq. ... which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Christie, June 6, 1810… (London: W. Bulmer, 1810), pg. 4, no. 6 (third set).

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute


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