Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 176 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Fifth volume 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 173, 174, 175, 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 location and times; however, this undated volume lacks a complete colophon.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Texblock comprised of medium-weight, cross-grained, sized and polished, buff-coloured paper possibly handmade in India, with the several folios replaced and numerous infills in a comparatively dark brown paper.
Extent: 169 folios (ff. iii + 169 + iii)
Dimensions (leaf): 296 × 202 mm.
Dimensions (written): 227 × 136 mm.

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


Undetermined, but primarily quaternions throughout. Occasional catchwords written on the lower-left corners on the b sides but repaired areas lack them.


In poor condition, with extensive water and insect damage, with historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 column, with 27 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written primarily in clear nasta‘līq in hand black, with subheaders in red.

missing portions and infilles written primarily in a hasty nasta‘līq script shikastah ligatures in black, apparently by the same hand that completed Persian MS 173.


Probably bound in the Indian subcontinent in full brown goatskin leather in two separate pieces that overlap on the spine. Dark brown tinted endpapers added to the volume when restored, of the same stock used to repair the volume.

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

298 × 207 × 30 mm.

Handle with caution. In poor condition, with loose sewing, the text block splitting in many areas and the exterior extensively abraded. Boxed.


Origin: Perhaps completed in India Undated.

Provenance and Acquisition

Likely either restored 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 this set 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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