Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 174 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Second volume of an incomplete 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 173, 175, 176, 177, and 178. However, the set lacks the fourth volume and a geographical appendix often added as the eighth, hence only six total. While nearly uniformly bound, the different formats and colophons within the set indicate completion in different location and times.
Scribe: Ḥusayn ibn Hasan
Incipit: (basmallah) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): عنوان صحیفهٔ مرادات و فهرست مجموعهٔ سعادت مبین..‌.
Explicit: برگ ۵۲۰پ (folio 520b): علی مالیاء قدیر و بالرجبات حدیر و السلام علی خمسه ابیع اللهی (؟).
Colophon: برگ ۵۲۰پ (folio 520b): تمام شد دفتر دویم کتاب روضة الصفا بعون حق عز و علا بتاریخ سیوم شهر ذی القعده فی یوم الاحد بخط اضعاف العباد حسین این حسن...
Colophon: Signed by the scribe Ḥusayn ibn Hasan; however, he only indicates that he completed it on ‘Sunday, 3 Ẕī-l-Ḥijjah’ but omits the year.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Texblock comprised of medium-weight, cross-grained, sized and polished, heavily flocked, cream-coloured paper probably handmade in India, with the first folio replaced and numerous infills.
Extent: 521 folios (ff. viii + 521 + ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 300 × 187 mm.
Dimensions (written): 207 × 103 mm.

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


Undetermined, but primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords written written on the lower-left corners on the b sides throughout.


In poor condition, with extensive water and insect damage, with historical repairs throughout.


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


Written primarily in a clear naskh hand tending towards nasta‘līq in black, with subheaders in red, by Ḥusayn ibn Hasan.

missing portions and infilles written primarily in a hasty nasta‘līq script shikastah ligatures in black, apparently by the same hand that completed Persian MS 173.


Probably bound in the Indian subcontinent in full brown goatskin leather in two separate pieces that overlap on the spine.

Boards uniformly decorated together with the other volumes as a set, with paper onlays for the central scalloped mandorlas, detached pendants, and corners with the boards ruled in white. Paper label on the spine bears the title of the volume in Persian.

304 × 192 × 85 mm.

Handle with caution. In poor condition, with right board pulling away from the spine, otherwise loose sewing, and the text block split between folios 104 and 105, exterior binding joints breaking. Boxed.


Origin: Probably India with a partial date of ‘Sunday, 3 Ẕī-l-Ḥijjah’ that omits the year.

Provenance and Acquisition

Likely either restored for, or obtained by Jonathan Duncan, who governed the Bombay Presidency for sixteen years.

After Duncan's death, his family sold his library through the London firm of Samuel Leigh Sotheby (1805–1861) where Sir Graves Champney Haughton (1788–1849), an early student at Fort William College who excelled in the study of several oriental languages, purchased this set as per his inscription on folio 1b dated Feb. 1818.

Later owned 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.


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.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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