Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 990 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An undated, incomplete manuscript of the popular tale of Dalah Mukhtār (Independent Dalah), a Persian redaction of the tale of Dalīlah al-Muḥtālah (Dalīlah the Wily) from the Thousand and One Nights. Set in medieval Baghdad, this version concerns the escapades of Dalah, the the daughter of Khvājah Ja‘far Baghdādī, and her husband, rather than her daughter as featured in other versions.
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۲ر (folio 2a): اما رویان اخبار و ناقلان آثار چنین روایت کرده‌اند که در عهد نبوت سلیمان پیغمبر صلوة الله علی پادشاهی در مصر بود...
Explicit: برگ ۷۵ر (folio 75a): و پیش خواجه تاجر آمد و سند کرد خواجه...
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

Defective at the end; however, the text comports with University of Edinburgh Or. Ms. 357. See Hukk Catalogue. For a full analysis, see the recent edition published by Mihrān Afshārī.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 74 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 74 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 197 × 125 mm.



Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.


Origin: Possibly completed in Awadh; undated, but probably 18th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Manchester merchant and scholar Samuel Robinson (1794–1884) of Wilmslow, the author of Persian Poetry for English Readers (1883), who donated it to Owens College (the original institution that evolved into the of The University of Manchester today).

Transferred to the John Rylands Library in 1975 after it merged with the University of Manchester.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description derived from Siavash Rafiee-Rad, 'Persian Manuscripts in Samuel Robinson’s Collection in The John Rylands Library' (2017).

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 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.


Funding of Cataloguing

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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