Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 150 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This manuscript contains selections from the first volume of the Siyar al-Mutaʼakhkhirīn (Review of Modern Times), pertaining to the reign of Nawwāb of Bengal, ‘Alīvardī Khān Mahabat Jang (b. 1676 r. 1740–1756). An unidentified prior owner acquired this manuscript, copied in 3 Ṣafar 1218 AH (5 June 1802 CE), and added it to an unrelated, uniform set of three volumes that lacked the first one—Persian MS 151 (Vol. 2), 152 (Vol. 3), and 153 (Vol. 4)—to complete it. The author, Ghulām Husain Khān Ṭabaṭāḅāī (b. 1727 or 8) , a son of Patna Vice-Regent Sayyid ‘Alī Khān and cousin of ‘Alīvardī Khān, Nawwab of Bengal, composed this text in circa 1780–1784, and dedicated it to Governor-General of Bengal, Warren Hastings.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): اجداد آن معلی القاب از قوم انزاک بودند.
Explicit: برگ ۷۴ر (folio 74a): از طرف راجه مسطور راجه دوله رام مقرر شد.
Colophon: برگ ۷۴ر (folio 74a): بتاریخ غرهٔ شهر صفر ختم الله بالخیر و الظفر سنه ۱۲۱۷ هجری یک هزار دوصد هیفده من هجره النبوی مطابق به پنجم شهر جون سنه ۱۸۰۲ عیسوی م بقلم آمده
Colophon: Completed at the start of 3 Ṣafar 1218 AH (5 June 1802 CE).
Language(s): Persian

'Nota-Manus' (pseudonym of M. Raymond, a. k. a. Haji Mustapha, d. 1791) published an English translation of the first volume in 1789, but apparently died before completing the entire work. Colonel John Briggs (d. 1875) later revised and expanded it for the Oriental Translation Fund, published in 1832.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of paper probably handmade in India, with laid lines ~1.5 mm apart and no discernible chain lines, and with endpapers of the same.
Extent: 79 folios (ff. iv + 79 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 246 × 166 mm.
Dimensions (written): 195 × 99 mm.

Inconsistently foliated in Hindu-Arabic numerals on the upper centres of the a sides by the scribe in red.


Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides by the cataloguer.


Primarily quaternions throughout. 9IV(73)1III(79) Catchwords thoughout on the lower left corners of the b sides.


In fair condition. Handle with care. Broken sewing between the last right flyleaf and folio 1a.


Written in 1 column with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in a shaky nasta‘līq hand in black with subheaders in red.

Table of Contents: Contents listed on the first third and fourth right flyleaves (ff. iiib–ivb). Inscriptions:
  • Title and price written on the first right flyleaf a side: ‘£4 4 0 4 vol-’.
  • Signed ‘Geo. Bunce’ by former owner Major George Bunce (d. 1807) on the second flyleaf a side and final flyleaf b side.
Bookplates: Left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelf mark ‘2/E’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 372’.


Sewn all-along at three stations on leather thongs, with Islamic-style twined endbands in red and white silk threads at head and tail. Bound in a British-Indian hybrid style in India, tight-backed, in full medium brown goatskin leather over pasteboards without a flap (Type III binding as per Déroche), with squares at the edges and defined joints. Attached to the textblock by means of internal leather hinges put down on the first and last flyleaves, decorated with a strips of paper with serrated zig-zag cuts adhered over top.

Boards decorated with blind-stamped paper onlays with a scalloped central mandorlas, detached pendants, and corners, with a single white ruled line connecting them. Titled ‘SEIR. AL-MOTAKHER VOL. I’ in gold on the spine, uniformly with the other volumes.

253 × 168 × 17 mm.

In good condition, albeit with white salts (leather spew) on the exterior cover due to prolonged exposure to moisture.


Origin: Probably India; 3 Ṣafar 1218 AH (5 June 1802 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned by Major George Bunce (d. 1807), as per his inscriptions on the second flyleaf a side and final flyleaf b side. Bunce served as Lieutenant then later rose to Major in H. M. 24th Light Dragoons in India, where he apparently studied Persian and collected manuscripts, including a copy of the Shāhnāmah that he provided to Turner Macan for his edition.

Subsequently acquired by 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

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

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the volume.


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)


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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