Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 791 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An incomplete copy of the Majmaʻ al-Ansāb (Assembly of Genealogies) by Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī Shabānkārahʹī. Mostly compiled by the author from earlier sources, it comprises a general history primarily relating the lineages of prevailing Persian, Arab, Turkic rulers up to the death of the Mongol Ilkhanid ruler Abu Sa'id Khān. He originally completed it for Abu Sa'id's minister Ghīyāth al-Dīn Muḥammad (d. 1336) in 733 AH (1332–33 CE); however, the book went missing after his patron's death. So, the author composed a second redaction that he completed 10 years later in 743 AH (1342–43). A scribe named Muḥammad Afz̤āl completed this volume in Bihar in 1080 AH (1670 CE), but it later suffered damage, so a subsequent owner attempted to complete the volume with folios detached from another manuscript.
Scribe: Muḥammad Afz̤āl
Title: Collection of Genealogies
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الحمد لله الذي جعل الخمد مفتاحاً لذکره و سیفاً للمزید من فضله ودلیلاً علی الایه و سبیلاً علی نعمایه.
Explicit: برگ ۱۴۹پ (folio 149b): همهٔ راآمر زش(؟) رحمت خود کرامت(؟) کناد بحق النبي و آله الاخبار و الابرار.
Colophon: برگ ۱۴۹پ (folio 149b): تمت کتاب مجمع الانساب بروز یکشنبه بتاریخ هفدهم شهر رمضان المبارک سنه ۱۳ جلوس مالک مطابق سنه ۱۰۸۰ هجری بخط اضعف العباد محمد افضل ساکن صوبه بهار ....
Colophon: Completed by Muḥammad Afz̤āl, resident of Bihar, on 17 Ramaz̤ān 1080 AH (8 February 1670 CE).
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Straight-grained, medium-weight, cream-coloured, handmade paper, probably made in India.
Extent: 149 folios, 20 flyleaves (xvi + 149 + iv). Note that the eighth to fifteenth right flyleaves remain uncut hence only 16 images of the flyleaves appear.
Dimensions (leaf): 211 × 147 mm.
Dimensions (written): 164 × 88 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Hindu-Arabic numberals at top-left corners of the a sides.


III(13)1V(23)1III(30)10IV(xvii) Catchwords on the lower left corners of the b sides throughout, albeit many trimmed.


Handle with caution. In poor condition, with extensive damp, mould, and insect damage with historical repairs throughout.


Single column, with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in nasta‘līq script in black.

Folios 59a–61b, other nasta‘līq hand(s) in black.

Table of Contents: The final right flyleaf b side (f. xvia) bears a partial table of contents written in Persian.
Replaced text: The fourth to sixth right flyleaves (ff. iva–vib) bear passages from an unrelated manuscript that bears Hindu-Arabic folio numbers ‘۸-۹’ inscribed on the first two, that features passages concerning the Mongols missing from the original text, likely added to this volume when restored.
  • The seventh right flyleaf a side (ff. viia) bears an English description of the volume, possibly in the hand of Sir Gore Ouseley.
  • The second to last right flyleaf b side (f. xvb) bears descriptions of the volume in different hands with references to published catalogue written in English.
  • The final right flyleaf a and b side (f. xva–b) bears descriptions of the volume in different hands written in French, with an older French pasted note on the b side.
  • Folio 1a a note documenting the purchase of the volume from bookseller Abū-l-Fatḥ Ṣaḥḥāf dated 6 Shavvāl, 24th year of the reign of the Mughal ruler Muḥammad Shāh (hence 1154 AH, 15 Dec. 1741 CE), above the seal impression of Masjid-i Muḥammadī.
  • On folio 149b, below the colophon, a note dated 1 Shavvāl 1180 AH (2 Mar. 1767 CE).
Bookplate: Final left flyleaf b side (f. xxb): ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/I’ and ‘Persian MS 791’.


Sewn all-along on three sawn-in cords laced into the pasteboards, without endbands. Recovered Europe in full, red straight-grained morocco (placed diagonally) leather, without a flap (type III binding per Déroche), with squares at the edges. Modern yellow-tinted wove endpapers added to the volume when restored.

214 × 156 × 35 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In poor condition. surface abraded, joints cracking, and headcaps frayed. While the sewing remains intact, the text block split in several areas. The eight to fifteenth left flyleaves (ff. viii–xv) left uncut. Boxed.

Two seal impressions of former owners

1: Folio 1a bears a partial oval seal impression, intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script, double-ruled, with the name of a mosque, ‘Masjid Muḥammadī’ dated 1152 AH (1739–40 CE).

2: The second to last right flyleaf a side (f. xva) bears a partially legible rectangular seal impression, intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script, stacked in 3 lines with the name of Mudīr al-Mulk Rafī‘ al-Dawlah Bahādur Jang dated 1128 AH (1715–16 CE).

12.5 × 18.5 mm.

Accompanying Material

Addendum: A folded sheet of ruled notepaper inserted at the back of the volume describes the manuscript written in both English and French.


Origin: Completed in Bihar; 17 Ramaz̤ān 1080 AH (8 February 1670 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly in the possession of various owners, likely all in India, including Mudīr al-Mulk Rafī‘ al-Dawla Bahādur Jang as per his seal impression dated 1128 AH (1715–16 CE) on final right flyleaf a side (f. xiia), then perhaps endowed by him to a mosque, Masjid Muḥammadī, as per its seal impression on 1a dated 1152 AH (1739–40 CE).

Subsequently sold by bookseller Abū-l-Fatḥ Ṣaḥḥāf on 6 Shavvāl 1154 AH (15 Dec. 1741 CE).

Later acquired by various Europeans, including Sir Gore Ouseley, whose hand comports with other volumes that he formerly owned.

Evidently acquired as an isolated purchase by 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

Basic entry compiled by Elizabeth Gow from 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 in hand.


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.


    E. G. Browne, A Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the Library of the University of Cambridge (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 1896), p. 102, no. XLII [Camb. Add. 1088].
    W. H. Morley, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Historical Manuscripts in the Arabic and Persian Languages (London: John W. Parker & Son, 1854), pp. 28–30, no. XV.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum1879), pp. 83–84 [BL Add. 16,696].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Vol I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), col. 15–16, nos. 21–22 [Ouseley 9 and Bodl. 206].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. 1 Pt. 2 (London: Luzac & Co.1970), pp. 84–85, no. 112.


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