Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 969 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts

This illustrated manuscript features two works excerpted from the Khamsah (Quintet) by Niẓāmī.


Summary of Contents: This volume contains the Makhzan al-Asrār (Treasury of Secrets) followed by the Romance of Khusraw and Shīrīn, which both usually comprise the first two works in the Khamsah (Quintet) by Niẓāmī Ganjavī (ca. 1141–1203). Completed by scribe Muḥammad Qāsim Jundabāqānāi (the Arabized form of the Persian name Gulpāyagānī, meaning someone from the town of Golpayagan) in 1024 AH, the volume contains seven illustrations of the commercial Isfahan style
1. Folios 1b-36a
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 38b): ساز آباد خدایا دل ویرانی را * یا مده مهرتان هیچ مسلمانی را
Explicit: برگ ۳۸پ (folio 38b): ساز آباد خدایا دل ویرانی را * یا مده مهرتان هیچ مسلمانی را
Colophon: برگ ۳۸پ (folio 38b): حب الار عالیحضرات حکومت و اقبال پناه شجاعاً رشد پنگا[ه؟] مرقوم شد. فقیر حاجی محمد الکاتب الجردباقانی سنه ۱۰۲۸.
Colophon: Completed by Ḥājjī Muḥammad [Qāsim] al-Jurdbāqānī on 1028 AH (1619 CE).

The scribe's arabized niṣbah, ‘al-Jurdbāqānī’ indicates his family originally came from the town of Golpayegan, located near Isfahan. Note that a catalogue entry from the Quaritch firm pasted on the right pastedown erroneously reports the scribe's name as ‘Háji Muhammad Fáni’, also repeated in Rafiee-Rad. ‘Arif Naushahi describes a lithographed edition of the Burhān Qātī‘ published in Bombay based upon a manuscript completed by a Muḥammad Bāqir Jurdbāqānī in 1035 AH who may possibly be the same person as the scribe of this volume. For other copies of this same work, including volumes formerly owned by scholar Nathaniel Bland, upon which basis he published his critical edition in 1844, see Rylands Persian MS 9, 35, and 61, in addition to complete copies of the entire Khamsah held in the collection.

Language(s): Persian
2. folios 39b-140b
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۳۹پ (folio 39b): خداواندا در توفیق بگشای * نظامی را ره تحقیق بنمای.
Explicit: برگ ۱۴۰پ (folio 140): روانش باد جفت نیکنامی * که گوید باد رحمت بر نظامی.
Colophon: برگ ۱۴۰پ (folio 140): در تاریخ سلح شهر ربی الثانی سنه ۲۸[۰]۱ ثمان و عششرین بعد الالف مرقوم بلم شکسته شد رقم اقل اشیا حاجی قاسم جربادقانی.
Colophon: Completed by Ḥājjī Muḥammad [Qāsim] Jurdbāqānī in Rabī‘ II 1028 AH (Mar.– Apr. 1619 CE).
Language(s): Persian

For an earlier illustrated manuscript of this same work, see Rylands Persian MS 6, in addition to complete copies of the Khamsah held in the collection.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock comprised of a combination of a medium-weight, straight and cross-grained, coarse, externally sized and polished, buff-coloured paper likely handmade in Greater Iran, with ~7 laid lines per mm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 148 folios (ff. i + 148 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 293 × 178 mm.
Dimensions (written): 192 × 92 mm.
Foliation: Unfoliated.


Undetermined, but primarily quaternions throughout, with extensive alterations due to reapirs . Extensive Catchwords on the lower left corners of b sides throughout.


Text in fair condition, with damage, stains, and historical repairs and remargined folios at the beginning and end. Vertical break in the illumination on folio 1. Protruding folios from repairs.


Written in 3 columns with 22 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in black nasta‘līq script with red subheaders by Ḥājjī Muḥammad [Qāsim] Jurdbāqānī.


Illustrations: Seven illustrations depict the story of Khusraw and Shīrīn executed in a commercial Isfahan style:

  • Folio 56b:
    Khusraw escapes to Ārman.
  • Folio 64a:
    Khusraw ascends the Madāyin Throne then deaprts for Ārman.
  • Folio 72b:
    Khusraw defeats Bahrām Chūbīn.
  • Folio 83b:
    Farhād’s creates a stream of milk.
  • Folio 91b:
    Shīrīn travels to Bīstūn mountain to visit Farhād.
  • Folio 64a:
    Khusrow sees Shikar Ṣipāhān.
  • Folio 135a:
    The death of Khusraw. Published: Rafiee-Rad, pl. 3.

Illumination: Folios 1b and 39b bear delicately illuminated headpieces

Ruling: Vertical and horizonal dividers and in thin gold outlined in thin single black lines, with the surrounding margins in wide gold outlined with double black lines, and surrounding by a single blue one.

  • Folio 1a bears a partially legible dated note adjacent to the oval seal impression of Ḥusn‘alī dated 1293 AH (1876–77 CE).
  • The final left flyleaf a and b sides (ff. iia–iib) bear various poetic and prose quotes.


Unsupported sewing at two stations, edges trimmed, and twined chevron endbands sewn at head and tail worked in yellow and pink silkthreads. Covered in boarded Russia leather over pasteboards without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche), with the spine subsequently rebacked in goatskin leather. Board interiors lined with tan sheepskin leather

Boards decorated with recessed gilt leather scalloped central mandorlas and detached pendants bearing arabesque floral palmette scrollwork designs. Board margins tooled with a blind rope design. Interior doublure margins single-ruled in black.

306 × 190 × 26 mm.

Handle binding with care. In poor condition, with extensive abrasion to the edges, onlays abraded, and headcap torn. Extensive tipping restricts opening to the gutter margins.

Three types of small black intaglio-carved seal impression and a stationer's embossed seal.

1: Folios 1a bears a small oval seal impression, in a single line of nasta‘līq script, double-ruled, with the name of former owner Ḥusn‘alī dated 1233 AH (1817–18 CE):
8 × 12 mm.

2: The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears a small, partially legible oval seal impression, in a single line of nasta‘līq script, double-ruled, possibly with the name of former owner named Fāṭimah:
10 × 14 mm.

3: Folio 18a bears a small, obliterated double-ruled oval seal impression:
13 × 16 mm.

4: The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) An oval blind embossed stamp, with partially legible Cyrillic characters in a ring around the perimeter, possibly that of a Russian stationer or paper mill. 16 × 21 mm.

Accompanying Material

A card tucked inside the right pastedown bears a pasted entry excerpted from the 1902 catalogue of the London antiquarian firm of Bernard Quaritch (firm) with handwritten observations about the volume.


Origin: Completed by Ḥājjī Muḥammad Qāsim Jurdbāqānī, probably in Isfahan Rabī‘ II 1028 AH (Mar.– Apr. 1619 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently owned by one Ḥusn‘alī as per his seal impression on folio 1b.

A catalogue pasted entry upon right pastedown, excerpted from the 1902 catalogue of the London antiquarian firm of Bernard Quaritch (firm) indicates an unidentified individual probably purchased it for £4 4 shillings. Although Siavash Rafiee-Rad implies that Samuel Robinson of Wilmslow formerly owned this manuscript, we find no external nor internal evidence to suggest this.

Unknown. Probably transferred from the University of Manchester Library to the John Rylands Library after the institutions merged in 1972.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description derived from Siavash Rafiee-Rad, 'Persian Manuscripts in Samuel Robinson’s Collection in The John Rylands Library' 2017. Record created and manuscript description amended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022 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.


    François de Blois, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. V, Pt. 2 (London, Luzac, 1994), pp. 364, 374 .
    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the Library of the India Office, Vol. I (Oxford: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903) cols. 602–603, no. 989 [BL IO Islamic 1444].
    ‘Arif Naushahi, Kitāb-shināsī-yi Ās̱ār-i Fārsī-yi Chāp Shudah pp. 830–831, no. 5558
    D. Parrello, 'Ḵamsa of Neẓāmī', Encyclopædia Iranica Vol. 15, Fasc. 5 (2011): pp. 451–453.
    S. Rafiee-Rad, 'Persian Manuscripts in Samuel Robinson’s Collection in The John Rylands Library', Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research, Vol. 61, No. 2 (2017): pp. 248–251.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 565–566 [BL Add. 7729/1].
    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. 494, nos. 600–603 [Bodl. Ouseley 302, Ouseley Add. 107, Marsh 369, sale 29].
    Bernard Quaritch (firm), A Catalogue of Works on Oriental History, Languages and Literature (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1902), p. 26, no. 208.

Funding of Cataloguing

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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