Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 387 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first, undated volume of a complete set of the Rawz̤at al-Ṣafā (Garden of Purity), a general history from the creation of the world to the time of the author, together with Persian MS 388, 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, and 394. While uniformly bound, the variant dimensions, formats and colophons within the set suggest that former owner George William Hamilton (1807–1868) assembled it together from disparate volumes completed in various locations and at different times.
Language(s): Persian
Colophon: A restorer evidently replace the final folio bearing the incipit and colophon, which omits the date of completion.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Text block comprised of sized and polished, medium-weight, heavily flocked, butter-coloured paper possibly handmade in India.
Extent: 373 folios (ff. iii + 373 + i)
Dimensions (leaf): 309 × 204 mm.
Dimensions (written): 218 × 119 mm.

Foliation marked at top-right corners of the a sides in Hindu-Arabic numerals in black ink, employed for this record.

Foliation: Modern pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper right corners include the endpapers, hence not used for this record.


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


In good condition, albeit stained, and evidence of insect damage and historical repairs applied to the opening and closing folios.


Written in 1 column, with 21 lines per page. Ruled with a maṣṭārah hand guide.


Written primarily in a clear nasta‘liq hand in black, with subheaders in red.


Probably uniformly rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in Multan, together with the other volumes in full red goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap (type III binding per Déroche), as a set for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton.

323 × 224 × 50 mm.

Handle with caution. In fair condition. The text block opens tightly to the gutter, while the exterior binding suffers from abrasion, and cracking joints at head and tail.

Accompanying Material

Four folios (two bifolia) loosely inserted at the front of the volume bear a table of contents written in a hand consistent with many other volumes that Hamilton formerly owned.


Origin: Probably India; undated, but possibly mid-18th to early 19th century. CE

Provenance and Acquisition

Obtained by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner in Delhi. During his tenure, he acquired over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts, from which, the British Museum selected 352 volumes after his death, now held in the British Library.

In 1868, Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder.

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

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands 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.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute


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