Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 177 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Sixth 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 173, 174, 175, 176, 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.

While this volume lacks an explicit colophon, a note on the first right flyleaf (f. ia) bears an inspection notation written in ‘dār al-Khilāfat Akbarābād’ (or the Mughal capital at Agra) dated ‘Thursday the 9th of the year 1006’, but curiously omits the month. Nevertheless, the day indicates possibly either the month of Jumādá I or Shavvāl of that year, hence the manuscript was completed before 15 May 1598.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Texblock comprised of thin-weight, cross-grained, sized and polished, cream-coloured paper possibly handmade in India.
Extent: 250 folios (ff. i + 250 + iii)
Dimensions (leaf): 295 × 206 mm.
Dimensions (written): 226 × 136 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 on the lower-left corners on the b sides.


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.


Probably bound in the Indian subcontinent in full brown goatskin leather in two separate pieces that overlap on the spine.

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.

297 × 212 × 48 mm.

Handle with caution. In poor condition, with sewing broken between folios 83 to 84, hence folios81 to 86 detached from the text block. Exterior extensively abraded. Binding opens tightly to the gutter. Paper label peeling away from the spine. Boxed.


Origin: Probably completed in India; Undated, but completed before 9 Shavvāl 1006 AH (15 May 1598) as indicated by the inspection notice on the first right flyleaf (f. ia).

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned by an unnamed individual who wrote an inspection notation on first right flyleaf (f. ia), in the Mughal capital at Agra, on the 9th of an omitted month in the year 1006 AH

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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