Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 127 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A complete, unillustrated copy of the romance of Yūsuf va Zulaykhā, which comprises the fifth of seven books in the collection entitled Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) by ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492), in 957 AH (1550–51 CE). A mystical love story of the Prophet Joseph and Potiphar's wife, the author primarily drew inspiration from the twelfth chapter of the Qur'ān Sūrah Yūsuf and references by prior poets. Unsigned and undated, a scribe likely completed it in the Indian subcontinent, possibly during the 18th century CE..
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الهی گنچه‌ٔ امید بگشایی * که گلی از روضهٔ جوید نمایی
Explicit: زبان را گوشمال خامشی ده * که هست از هرچه گویی خامشی به.
Colophon: Uninformative colophon.
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this work, see Rylands Persian MS 20, 70, 79, 267, 963 and 980, as well as the text within the Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) in Persian MS 949.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of medium-weight, cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury paper, probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: Unfoliated, 8 flyleaves (ff. iv + ? + iv).
Dimensions (leaf): 256 × 178 mm.
Dimensions (written): 190 × 110 mm.
Foliation: Unfoliated .


Undetermined, but probably quaternions throughout. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle with caution. Textblock in poor condition with extensive insect damage throughout and many folios stuck together.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq script with red subheaders.


Ruling: Central text margins ruled with double red lines, with the same for horizontal dividers, and single line for column separators.

Inscriptions: The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title in pencilled Latin script:
‘Jamee's Loves of Joseph and Zuleikha’.
The second right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title in nasta‘līq and again in Latin script:
‘The Loves of Joseph and Zuleikha by Jami’
both in unidentified hands.
Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/D’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 349’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘127’ written aside.


Probably contemporary binding from the Indian subcontinent.

Endpapers of comparatively rough, straw-coloured paper added at the beginning and end. Sewn at two unsupported stations. Edges roughly trimmed, head coloured black, with chevron endbands twined in yellow and red threads at head and tail, now deteriorated. Covered in two pieces of full artificially embossed, greenish-brown straight-grained 'morrocco sheepskin leather over pasteboards, which overlap upon the spine.

Boards decorated with recessed scalloped central mandorlas, detached pendants, and cornerpieces featuring floriate designs blocked in silver leaf. Criss-crossed single silver lines connect the central decoration, with double lines connecting the cornerpieces, and the outer margins ruled again in the same. Spine subsequently titled ‘YUSUF ZULAIKHA - JAMI’ in gold, the same as Persian MS 70 and 79.

279 × 186 × 35 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In poor condition, with extensive exterior abrasion, grain layer peeling, insect damage on the spine, cracked joints, head and tail caps and endband deteriorated, and sewing broken in several places.


Origin: Probably Indian subcontinent; possibly 18th century CE..

Provenance and Acquisition

While the circumstances under which this volume arrived in Britain remain unclear, scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) acquired it for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead.

After Bland's death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in June, 1866, paid in two instalments of £450 and £400, and then moved to Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

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

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript handlist by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

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.


    A. F. L. Beeston, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstânî, and Pushtû Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Part III (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), p.36 no. 2619 [Bodleian Ms. Whinfield 12] .
    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), col. 746, no. 1300/6 [British Library IO Islamic 800].
    M. Kerney, Bibliotheca Lindesiana. Handlist of Oriental Manuscripts, Arabic, Persian, Turkish. ([Aberdeen]: Privately printed, 1898), p. 234, no. 20.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), p. 645 [British Library Add. 7770/3].
    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.618, no. 897 [Bodleian MS Ouseley 290/5].

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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