Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 178 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Seventh 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, 176, and 178. However, the set lacks the fourth volume and a geographical appendix often added as the eighth, hence only six total. While most of the set appears nearly uniformly bound, this volume completely differs from the others both in terms of its text format and binding.
Incipit: (basmallah) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): حصول سعادت دارین حمد پرورد کاریست...
Explicit: برگ ۱۸۳ر (folio 183a): سیر فلک باد بگامش مدام * نامه امید بنامش تمام
Colophon: برگ ۱۸۳ر (folio 183a): تمام شد روضة الصفا بتاریخ چهارم شهر ذی القعد[ة] یوم پنجشنبه وقت عصر سنه ۱۲۲۳ من هجرة النبی صلی الله علیه و سلم بید احقر العباد محمدعلی ولد مرحوم محمد شفیع ساکن
Colophon: Completed in the evening on 4 Ẕī-l-Qa‘dah, 1223 AH (22 Dec. 1808 CE) by Muḥammad ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Shafī‘.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Texblock comprised of medium-weight, straight-grained, sized and highly polished, blue tinted paper with an Anchor watermark with ‘LOS EM. RAPH. AZULAY’ and countermarked ‘ALL INGLESE’, likely handmade in Spain, 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.

Modern foliation marked at top-right corners of the a sides in pencilled Arabic numerals.


Undetermined. Catchwords written on the lower-left corners on the b sides throughout.


In excellent condition.


Written primarily in a clear naskh hand tending towards nasta‘līq in black, with subheaders in red, by Ḥusayn ibn Hasan.

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 a European-style full light brown goatskin leather over pasteboards, with seven bands (four false) on the spine, and squares along the edges, in a completely different manner than other volumes in the set. Marbled endpapers and flyleaves watermarked with a large crest and countermarked with the name of George Smidts. Decorative single-core endbands at head and tail sewn in yellow and green silk. Paper label on the spine bears the title of the volume in Persian.

324 × 222 × 42 mm.

Handle with caution. In fair condition, with with the exterior binding joints breaking and significant abrasion to the surface, and dry-rot. Boxed.


Origin: Completed in Dhoraji, then part of Gondal State one of eight princely states then within the Bombay Presidency in India; completed on 4 Ẕī-l-Qa‘dah, 1223 AH (22 Dec. 1808 CE) by Muḥammad ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Shafī‘

Provenance and Acquisition

Likely 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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