Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 138 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first of two volumes, together with Perisian MS 139, of the Bahār-i ‘Ajam (Spring of ‘Ajam), a dictionary of words and idioms used by the Persian poets, compiled by Munshī Ray Lālah Tīk Chand (d. 1766), pennamed Bahār (Spring). He compiled the work over the course of some twenty years, completing it on 1152 AH (1739 CE), then revised it another six times before his death. British orientalist Thomas Roebuck (1781–1819), himself the author of two dictionaries, commissioned this manuscript in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1815, while serving as assistant-secretary and examiner at Fort William College.
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): سپاس و ستایش داننده را که هر یکی از افراد از انسان را باندازهٔ استعداد بتشریف دانش و فرهنگ شرف اختصاص بخشید.
Colophon: Completed on behalf of British orientalist Thomas Roebuck in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1815.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury-coloured paper probably handmade in Bengal .



Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.



Origin: Completed for Thomas Roebuck (1781–1819) in Calcutta (Kolkata); 1815 CE. A member of the Asiatic Society Roebuck, authored An English and Hindoostanee naval dictionary of technical terms and sea phrases (1811) and the posthumously published Proverbs, and Proverbial Phrases in the Persian and Hindostanee Language (1824).

Provenance and Acquisition

After Roebuck's death from fever in Calcutta in 1819, his surviving family apparently sold most of his oriental manuscripts through the London firm of Samuel Sotheby (1771–1842) on 13 May 1820; however, this two-volume set does not appear in the catalogue, so the circumstances under which it left Roebuck's possession and arrived in Britain remain unclear.

Subsequently acquired by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) from an unknown source for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead. After his death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866, and 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, Manchester.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s, concisely published as 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.


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Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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