Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 12 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Abū al-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanāʼī al-Ghaznavī (d. ca. 1131) composed his epic poem Ḥadīqat al-Ḥaqīqah va Sharī‘at al-Ṭarīqah (The Garden of Truth and Rules of the Way), shortly before his death, but left it incomplete. On the order of the poet's patron, Bahrām Shāh Ghaznavī (b. 1084, r. 1117–1157), Muḥammad bin ‘Ali Raffā' subsequently completed a full edition in ten chapters, to which he added a prose preface. A prolific scribe Muḥammad al-Qivāmī, known as Ḥammāmī, completed this volume in Rajab, 1016 AH (Oct.–Nov. 1607 CE), probably in Shiraz, where artists then also delicately illuminated the manuscript and painted seven illustrations, including three double-page scenes.
Incipit: برگ ٢پ (folio 2b): و آن ریایست و میان این رویند کان الهی معارج و مدارج ...
Explicit: برگ ٣١٧ر (folio 317a): وبقاى ممالک و شادی روان مصطفی صلی الله علیه و آله و سلم و آن جمله انیا و اصفیا و اولیا رضوان الله علیهم اجمعین و صلی الله علی خیر خلقه محمد و آله اجمعین.
Colophon: برگ ٣١٧ر (folio 317a): حسن الله بالتوفيقتمت الكتاب بعون الملك الوهاب تمام شد كتاب حديقهٔ حكيم سنايي از تاريخ سلح رجب المرجب سنه ١٠١٦ اللهم اغفر لنا طمه و لكاتبه و لمن سعافنهه.
Colophon: The scribe, Muḥammad al-Qivāmī, signs his name at the end of the preface on folio 10a, then dates it on folio 317a.

For the earliest full version of this work known to survive, see Rylands Persian MS 843, as well as two others, Persian MS 13 and 106.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of primarily cross-grained, ivory-coloured paper probably handmade in Greater Iran, with >1 mm between laid lines and no discernible chain lines. Interleaved of salmon pink paper, flecked with silver on one side only, later added to protect the paintings.
Extent: 319 folios, 5 flyleaves, 6 blank interleavings (ff. ii + 10 + i + 50 + i + 104 + i + 33 + i + 26 + i + 26 + i + 70 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 238 × 133 mm.
Dimensions (written): 165 × 70 mm.
Foliation: Modern pencilled Arabic numerals in the upper-left corners of the a sides that omit folio 159Ab.


Undetermined, but probably primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords throughout on the lower left corners of the b sides.


Handle with extreme care. In fair condition. Be careful of leading tears along the fore-edge, especially at the beginning, end, and by the paintings. Marginal ruling breaks in the gutters, and the lower-left corner of the final painting on 318a particularly fragile.


Written primarily in two columns with 16 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah.


Written in black nasta‘līq script in with sub-headers in red.


Seven illustrations, including three double-page compositions, probably completed in Shiraz at the beginning of the seventeenth century, contemporary with the text.

  1. Folios 1b to 2a: A princely feast outdoors.
    Each half: 140 × 76 mm.
    Published: Robinson, p. 229, no. 661.
  2. Folio 60b Abraham endures the flames, watched by Nimrod and attendants.
    11 × 108 mm.
    Published: Robinson, p. 230, no. 662.
  3. Folios 163b to 164a: Bath scene.
    Folio 163b: 89 × 89 mm. Folio 164a: 121 × 95 mm.
  4. Folio 196a: Tavern scene.
    158 × 89 mm.
    Published: Robinson, p. 231, no. 664.
  5. Folio 221b: Sick maid and nurse frightened by a black ox with a cooking pot on its head.
    152 × 89 mm.
    Published: Robinson, p. 231, no. 665.
  6. Folio 247b: King Maḥmūd Zāvvulī addressed by a woman while hunting.
    113 × 89 mm.
  7. Folios 317b to 318a: A royal hunt.
    Each half: 140 × 76 mm.
    Published: Robinson, p. 232, no. 667.

Illumination: Headings on folios 2b (preface) and 10b (beginning of text), with the text of and the facing pages also decorated.

Central columnar rulings comprised of a pair of fine gold lines flanked by pale green lines.

  • Folio ia (first right flyleaf a side): Name 106.

  • Folio 1a: ‘Mr. B. Hadicae Hacim Sinaee.’, possibly in the hand of former owner Turner Macan.

  • Folio 2b: ‘Macan’, signed by former owner Turner Macan.

  • The third to last left flyleaf a side (f. iiia): ‘Huddeeka Hukeem Sunaie.’

  • The final left flyleaf a side (f. va): ‘End of Poet(?) End. Seal at end’ also probably by Turner Macan.

  • Final left flyleaf a side (f. va): ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘F/5’.
  • Left doublure: ‘Bland MSS No. 22’.


Unsupported sewing at two stations with blue silk, with twined chevron endbands sewn in turquoise and bright green silk threads. Two-piece covering in straight-grained dark red goatskin leather that overlaps on the spine, without a flap (type III binding per Déroche). Interior doublures lined with goatsin leather. Later repairs to the headcaps and corners in a bright red goatskin leather, now faded to light brown on the exterior. Later endpapers of European wove paper added when restored.

Boards decorated with inlaid, recessed gilt central medallions featuring a Mughal-style poppy design and detached pendants bearing tulips. Ruled lines connect the decoration, with added raidiating lines in gold, now worn. The boards double-ruled in gold and a chain along the perimeters. Blind fillets lines added to the headcap repairs to blend in with the original tooling. The spine lettering ‘HUDDEEKA HUKEEM SUNNAIE’ in handle letters directly over both the headcap repair and original spine. The doublures feature finely cut gilt leather filigree over inlaid cartouches of orange and plue pigments and roundels of green silk, recessed within a black pebble-grained leather, possibly shagreen. Maroon goatskin leather hinges added to reattach the book.

297 × 208 × 12 mm.

Handle with care. In fair condition. The binding separates from the textblock, with sewing broken between folios 120–36 and 161–66, and break in the textblock between folios 192—93. The doublures are very worn and delicate.


Folio 317a bears a partially-legible oval seal impression, intalgio-cut in thuluth script in three stacked lines belonging to a former owner whose name appears unclear, but nevertheless dated 1031 AH (1753–54 CE).





9 × 12 mm.


Origin: Probably completed by Muḥammad al-Qivāmī in Shiraz; Rajab 1016 AH (Oct.–Nov. 1607 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by an unidentified individual, who impressed his seal on folio 317a.

Subsequently acquired by Persian interpreter Turner Macan (1792-1836). After his death, his family sold his library at two sales, the first one through Jenkins, Low & Co. in Calcutta (Kolkata), and a second one through Robert Harding Evans (1777–1857) in London on 12 Dec. 1838. This volume may be the same one found listed in the catalogue of the latter sale, lot no. 393, purchased by ‘Parbury’, likely the British bookseller and publisher George Parbury (fl. 1807–1881) purchased it for 7 shillings.

Probably sold by Parbury's firm Parbury & Co. to 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

Codicological description based upon B. W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue and an index by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived in turn from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish in 1898.

Manuscript description 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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


    François de Blois, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. V, Pt. 2 (London, Luzac, 1994), pp. 522–530.
    J. T. P. de Bruijn, Of Piety and Poetry: The Interaction of Religion and Literature in the Life and Works of Ḥakīm Sanā'ī of Ghazna. Leiden:Brill, 1983.
    J. T. P. de Bruijn, 'Ḥadīqat aL-Ḥaqīqah wa Šarīʿat al-Ṭarīqah', Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. XI, Fasc. 4 (2003), pp. 441–442.
    R. H. Evans, A Catalogue of a Portion of the Library of Fitz-James Watt, Esq., Oriental Books and Manuscripts of the late major Turner Macan, and a Portion of the Library of Another Gentleman... (London: [R. H. Evans], 1838), p. 19, lot 393.
    G. Ouseley, Biographical notices of Persian poets; with critical and explanatory remarks... (London: Oriental Translation Fund, 1846), pp. 184–187.
    B. W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London: Sotheby Parke Bennet, 1980), pp. 163–189, 229–232, nos. 575–612.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 549b–551a [BL Add. 16777–16778, Add. 25329, 26150, and Or. 358].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Vol I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), cols. 463–467, no. 528–535 [Bodl. Elliott 151–154, Ouseley 315, Ouseley Add. 37 and 88].

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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