Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 389 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The undated third 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 387, Persian MS 388, 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.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Texblock comprised of sized and polished, medium-weight, heavily flocked, straw-coloured paper, both straight and cross-grain, possibly handmade in India.
Extent: 362 folios (ff. V + 362 + i)
Dimensions (leaf): 296 × 173 mm.
Dimensions (written): 215 × 112 mm.

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

Foliation: Modern pencilled Arabic numberals written upside-down on the lower right corners of the b sides, which include the endpapers, hence not used for this record.


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


In good condition.


Written in 1 column, with 23 lines per page. Ruled with a maṣṭārah hand guide.


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

  • Table of Contents: written in another comapraively hasty hand on the second to fifth right flyleaves (ff. iia–vb).
  • The first right flyleaf a side bears the title of the volume and the name of former owner Colonel George William Hamilton, inscribed together with the name of Muhīn Dās in Persian, whom possibly served him and may have written similar statements on the flyleaves of other volumes formerly held in his library.


Evidently uniformly rebound in hubrid British-Indian style in India, uniformly with the other volumes in full red goatskin leather over pasteboards, as part of a set for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton.

307 × 192 × 44 mm.

In good condition, with the opening restricted due to cross-grain paper employed for the text block. The exterior bears mild abrasion, and white salts (spew) likely resulting from prolonged exposure to moisture.


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. After his death, the British Museum selected 352 volumes, 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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