Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 1014 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first of three volumes of a complete copy of the Tārīkh-i Firishtah (History of Firishtah), together with Persian MS 1015 and 1016. A chronicle by historian Muḥammad Qāsim Hindūshāh Astarābādī (fl. ca. 1585–1625), pennamed 'Firishtah' (Angel), he completed two redactions, one in 1015 (1606–07 CE) and another in 1018 (1609–10 CE) entitled Tārīkh-i Nawras'nāmah, both dedicated to his patron, the ruler of the Deccan Sultanate of Bijapur Ibrāhīm ‘Ādil Shāh II (b. r. ). It features a preface on the pre-Islamic rulers of India followed by the Islamic period in twelve books. Since he relates many eyewitness accounts of his time in the Deccan, scholars till deem it a valuable reference today. French military figure and collector Jean Baptiste Joseph Gentil (1726-1799) evidently acquired these volumes and possibly had them uniformly rebound as a set.
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): پیش وجود همه‌ٔ آیندگان * بیش بقای همه پایندگان | قافله(؟) [سابقه] سالار جهان قدم * مرسله پیوند گلوی قلم | داغ نه ناصیه داران پاک * تاج ده تخت نشینان خاک. چون بر حکم «کنت کثیراً و مخفیاً بقلم قدرت رقم ابداع بر صحیفهٔ احوال مصنوعات کشیده بدست عنایت شاهد نورس وجود را از بند عدم آزاد گردانید نسیم جان بخش روح پرور از چمن و نفخت فیه من روحی در احتراز آورده...
Explicit: برگ ۴۶۶پ (folio 448b): ...روز آورد و ...هر در آن می‌افتاد بهر از نمیرسید باز پانصد و هشت و الله اعلم بقلوب اجال والقعه...
Colophon: برگ ۲۳۳ر (folio 448b): بتاریخ هفتم شهر رمضان مبارک سنه هجدهم محمد شاه غازی صورت اتمام یافت. تمات تمام تم تم تم... هر که جواند دعا طمع دارم * زآنکه من بنده کنه کارم.
Colophon: Completed 7 Ramaz̤ān, 18 year of Muhammad Shah's reign
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 378 and 379 (2 vols.), 380, and 826 (formerly owned by an early translator of the work, Jonathan Scott). For a critical Persian edition, see Briggs. For English translations of selections, see Briggs, Scott, and Dow.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of medium-weight, cross-grained, yellow (turmeric?)-tinted, externally sized and polished, paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~5 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 448 folios, 10 flyleaves (ff. vi + 448 + iv).
Dimensions (leaf): 280 × 178 mm.
Dimensions (written): 238 × 101 mm.
Foliation: Hindu-Arabic numerals written on the upper-left corners of the a sides throughout. Note that number 100 and above employs a subcontinental format with an extra zero indicating the 100th decimal place.


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


Handle text with caution. In fair condition with many detached folios and historical repairs.


Written in 1 column with 16 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in a hasty black shikastah-ta‘līq with red subheaders.

Table of Contents: The fifth right flyleaf b side to sixth a side (f. vb–via) lists the contents of the volume.
Marginalia: Occasional notes throughout in an unidentified English hand written in sepia ink, which translates chapter headings and events and cross-references Dow's translation.
Inscriptions: The right board exterior bears a paper label with the French title and volume number and ‘Nº 58’, as well as bears another note describing on the second right flyleaf a side (f. iia) both by former owner Jean Baptiste Joseph Gentil (1726-1799), who also signed and 1b, top.
Folio 1a bears a note by former owner Yūsuf Muḥammad Khān dated 1149 AH indicating that he paid a price of 140 rupees for the three-volume set:
‘له ملک هفدهم ۱۷ ماه مبارک رمضان سنه ۱۱۴۹ از خجسته بنایل(؟) سه جلد تاریخ فرشته بقیمت سلع(؟) یکصد و چهل روپیه خرید شده در قلعه بر پیدا (؟) رسید (سیاق؟) چند روزی بعاریت از ماست’ Bookplates: The right and left doublures both bear Chetham's bookplates, the latter with the class mark ‘7994’.


Probably uniformly rebound as a set in Awadh for former owner Jean Baptiste Joseph Gentil (1726-1799).

Resewn at two unsupported stations, with straight-grained, medium-weight, ivory-coloured, externally sized and polished endpapers, probably handmade in Awadh with ~7 laid lines per cm and no discerible chains lines added at the beginning and end. Edges trimmed, with chevron endbands twined in yellow and green silk over round cores at head and tail. Spine lined with wide strips of paper adjacent to the sewing as false bands. Covered in full maroon goatskin leather, tight-backed, over pasteboards, flush-cut with the edges, but without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche), with internal doublures of the same leather, their excess widths adhered as hinges connecting to the first and last flyleaves to the cover, with strips of paper applied over top to disguise the joins.

Board margins ruled in wide white lines, doulble ruled either side, with additional double and single ruling connecting the corners and single vertical lines through through the centres. After ruling, the binder decorated the boards with blind-stamped central scalloped mandorlas, detached pendants, and angular cornerpieces. Blind single palette lines by the false bands on the spine.

284 × 181 × 76 mm.

Handle with extreme caution. Binding in poor condition, with boards detached and textblock split in several areas. Remnants of the false spine bands remain on the spine, endbands missing. Boxed.

Two black intaglio-carved seal impressions:

1: The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears an partly legible black rectangular seal impression, intaglio-carved in lines of nasta‘liq script, double-ruled, with the names and titles of former owner Jean Baptiste Joseph Gentil (1726-1799) dated 1182 (1768–1769 CE): ‘جنتیل بهادر ناظم جناب پذیر الملک رفیع الدوله ۱۱۸۲ ’
19 × 23 mm.

2: Folio 1a bears an octagonal seal impression bearing the name of former owner or associate Yūsuf Muḥammad Khān, possibly dated regnal year 12, which due to the adjacent inscription dated 1149 AH, would likely be that of the Mughal ruler of Delhi Muḥammad Shāh (b. 1702, r. 1819–1848).
13 × 19 mm.


Origin: Completed by an unidentified scribe in the Indian subcontinent; undated, but probably mid-18th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently purchased by one Yūsuf Muḥammad Khān, as per his notation on folio 1a.

Evidently acquired in India by Jean Baptiste Joseph Gentil (1726-1799) as per his signature on 1a, inscriptions on the endpapers, and seal impressions.

While the circumstances under which these volumes arrived in Britain remain unclear, Chetham's Library, Manchester subsequently acquired the set.

Purchased in 1981 by the John Rylands Library, together with other oriental manuscripts for £2000.

Record Sources

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the volume in hand.


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    J. Briggs, 'Essay on the Life and Writings of Ferishta'. Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 2, No. 1 (1829): pp. 341–361.
    H. M. Elliot and John Dowson, The History of India, As Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, Vol. VI (London: Trübner & Co., 1875), pp. 207–236, no. LI.
    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office, Vol. 1 (London: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903), cols. 113–118, nos. 291–302 [British Library, IO Islamic 1408, etc.].
    Firishtah, Ferishta's History of Dekkan from the first Mahummedan conquests. Translated by J. Scott. Shrewsbury: Printed by J. and W. Eddowes for John Stockdale, Picadilly, London, 1794.
    Firishtah, Tarikh-i-Ferishta, or, History of the rise of the Mahomedan power in India, till the year A.D. 1612. Translated by Major-General John Briggs. Vols. I, II, III, and IV. London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1829.
    Firishtah, Tarikh-i-Ferishta, or, History of the rise of the Mahomedan power in India, till the year A.D. 1612, by Mahomed Kasim Ferishta, of Astrabad. Edited and collated from various manuscript copies on the spot, and examined with the best maps by Major-General John Briggs, F.R.S. ... assisted by Munshi Mir Kheirat Ali Khan Mushtak of Akberabad, Vols. I and II. Bombay: Lithographed at the Government College Press, 1831.
    G. P. Greswell, Bibliotheca Chethamensis: Sive Bibliothecæ Publicæ Mancuniensis Ab Humfredo Chetham Armigero Fundatæ Catalogus, Vol. III (Mancunii: Henricus Smith, 1826), p. 164, no. 7992 [Rylands Persian MS 1014–1016].
    G. R. G. Hambly, 'Ferešta, Tārīḵ-e', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. IX, Fasc. 5 (2003), pp. 533–534.
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), pp. 145–147, no. 471.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum, 1879), pp. 225–228 [British Library Add. 6569–6571, &c.].
    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. 116, no. 217 [Bodleian MS Hunt 265].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. I, Pt. 2, Fasc. 3 (London: Luzac & Co., 1953), pp. 445-450, no. 617.

Funding of Cataloguing

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library and the Soudavar Memorial Foundation.


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