Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 173 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first volume of an incomplete set of the Rawz̤at al-Ṣafā (Garden of Purity), a general history from the creation of the world to the time of the author, together with Persian MS 174, 175, 176, 177, and 178. However, the set lacks the fourth volume and a geographical appendix often added as the eighth, hence only six total. While nearly uniformly bound, the different formats and colophons within the set indicate completion in different locations and times.
Incipit: (basmallah) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): زی‍ب‌ ف‍ه‍رس‍ت‌ ن‍س‍خ‍ه‌ م‍ف‍اخ‍ر ان‍ب‍ی‍ا ع‍ال‍ی‍م‍ک‍ان‌ و زی‍ن‍ت‌ دی‍ب‍اچ‍ه‌ م‍ج‍م‍وع‍ه‌ م‍اث‍ر س‍لاطی‍ن‌.
Explicit: برگ ۳۸۸پ (folio 388b): علی مالیاء قدیر و بالرجبات حدیر و السلام علی خمسه ابیع اللهی (؟).
Colophon: برگ ۳۸۸پ (folio 388b): تمام شد جلد اول روضة الصفا بتاریخ بیست و چهارم شوال سنة ۱۲۱۸ هجری نبوی
Colophon: Completed on 24 Shavvāl 1218 AH (6 Feb. 1804 CE).
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Texblock comprised of sized and polished, heavily flocked, straw-coloured paper probably handmade in India. Numerous folios assembled from variant sheets joined together
Extent: 388 folios (ff. viii + 388 + iv)
Dimensions (leaf): 297 × 173 mm.
Dimensions (written): 235 × 124 mm.

Foliation marked at top-right corners of the a sides in Hindu-Arabic numerals in black ink.


Undetermined, but primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords written written on the lower-left corners on the b sides throughout.


In fair condition, with extensive insect damage thoughout. Folio 191 detached.


Written in 1 column, with 19 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written primarily in a hasty nasta‘līq script shikastah ligatures in black, with subheaders in red.


Probably bound in India

Boards uniformly decorated together with the other volumes as a set, with silvered paper onlays for the central scalloped mandorlas and detached pendants, with the boards ruled in white. Paper label on the spine bears the title of the volume in Persian.

300 × 179 × 77 mm.

Handle with caution. In poor condition, with loose sewing, text block split between folios 128 to 129, binding joints breaking. Boxed.

Accompanying Material

Small, gilt calling card of Leeds solicitor T. W. Tottie ‘London Coffee House Ludgate Hill-’.


Origin: Probably India; 24 Shavvāl 1218 AH (6 Feb. 1804 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Likely either completed for, or obtained by Jonathan Duncan, who governed the Bombay Presidency for sixteen years.

After Duncan's death, his family sold his library through the London firm of Samuel Leigh Sotheby (1805–1861) where Sir Graves Champney Haughton (1788–1849), an early student at Fort William College who excelled in the study of several oriental languages, purchased it as per his inscription on folio 1b dated Feb. 1818.

Later owned 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.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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