Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 18 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Illustrated copy of Ḥusayn Vāʻiẓ Kāshifī's Anvār-i Suhaylī, or the Lights of Canopus, a collection of animal fables of Indian origin.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 353 folios
Dimensions (leaf): 34.2 × 21.6 cm.
Dimensions (written): 21.6 × 12.1 cm.



Five miniatures, including two double-page miniatures. While the manuscript is dated to 1504, it is likely that the manuscript was only decorated around 75 years later, as the illuminations, marginal decoration and miniatures appear to date from c.1580.

Two illuminated arabesque medallions with pendants and corner-pieces on folios 2b and 3a, an illuminated double title-page on folios 3b and 4a, as well as an illuminated border on folios 351b and 352a. Margins throughout decorated with large floral scrolls, animals, birds, trees and clouds etc. in thin gold.


Contemporary binding (rebacked and repaired) of black morocco with sunk and inlaid gilt medallions, pendants, corner-pieces and frame. Doublures of brown leather with similar designs of fine cut-out work on blue and green backgrounds.


Origin: Dated mid-Muharram 910 (1504 CE) AH, the year in which the author died.

Provenance and Acquisition

Colophon on folio 352a, dated by the celebrated Herat calligrapher 'Ali (al-kātib).

Formerly part of the collection of the Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865). Bland’s oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993. Identification of provenance based on manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s.

Codicological description based on B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980).


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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