Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 187 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An incomplete copy of the romance of Farhād va Shīrīn by Vaḥshī Bāfqī (d. 1583), which ends at the 23rd of 44 parts. It formerly belonged to Sir William Jones (1746–1794), who made many notes therein. It appears that he probably commissioned his friend Bahman, son of Bahman, son of Isfandiyar, d. 1788it during his tenure in Calcutta.
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الهی سینه‌ٔ ده آتش افروز * در آن سینه دلی وآندل همه سوز
Explicit: برگ ۶۶ر (folio 66a): اگر چه صد نوا بیرون دهد چنگ * چو نیکو بنگری باشد یک آهنگ
Colophon: برگ ۶۶ر (folio 66a): تمت نسخه شیرینن و فرهاد تصنیف وحشی
Colophon: Uninformative colophon.

While J. Lawrence suggests that Jones' associated ʿIzz al-Dīn completed this volume, it appears to very closely comport with Persian MS 133 completed by by Bahman, son of Bahman, son of Isfandiyar, d. 1788 for Jones before his death. For other volumes that Jones owned now held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 10, 192, 219, 240, 267, and 340.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, ivory-coloured paper handmade in Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and few discernible chain lines.
Extent: 66 folios, 13 flyleaves (ff. vi + 66 + vii).
Dimensions (leaf): 255 × 196 mm.
Dimensions (written): 161 × 123 mm.
Foliation: Pencilled Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides by the cataloguer.


Undetermined due to tight sewing, but probablyt primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle text with caution. In fair but stable condition, with moderate insect damage on some folios throughout.


Written in 2 columns with 8 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq by Bahman son of Bahman son of Isfandiyar (d. 1788).

Marginalia: Many notes, amendments, and comments written by Sir William Jones.
  • Folio 1a signed ‘SH Lewin from Sir Wm Jones's Collection 1831’ by former owner Samuel Hawtayne Lewin.
  • The first left flyleaf b side (f. ib) bears a list by Jones:
    1. A Description of Select Indian Plants.
    2. On the Acient Kinds of Magadha
    3. On the Primitive Religion of the Hindu.
    4. Arimadversious) On the Brahmanical System of Paoline
Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/E’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 408’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘187’ written aside.


Bound in a late-18th century European style binding for Jones.

Sewn on five cords, with three laced into the pasteboards. Edges trimmed and coloured yellow, then decorative front-bead endbands sewn in white and blue threads at head and tail in red and white silk threads. Covered in full diced Russia calfskin leather, with five raised bands.

Spine panels palleted with a dotted lines with single lines either side. Septfoils in the centres, and palmette corners. Board margins bear decorative rope designs, outlined with single fillets on either side, with thick-and-thin diagonal lines on the board edges.

265 × 213 × 29 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, with joints cracked, tailcap missing, headcap torn, endbands broken, and exteriors abraded. Boards yawning at the fore-edge. Boxed.


Origin: Probably completed by Bahman, son of Bahman, son of Isfandiyar (d. 1788) for Sir William Jones (1746–1794) in Calcutta (Kolkata); undated, but between 1783, when Jones' arrived, and when Bahman passed away in 1788.

Provenance and Acquisition

After Jones death, his wife Lady Anna Maria Jones (1748–1829) inherited the volume, then after her death, the London firm of R. H. Evans (1778–1857) sold it on 20 May 1831 (lot 433), to bookseller John George Cochrane (1781–1852), who likely acted as an agent on behalf of Chancery Court Clerk and Royal Asiatic Society member Samuel Hawtayne Lewin (1795–1840), for whom he evidently also obtained other ex-Jones volumes (e.g. Rylands Persian MS 187 and 240; see Lawrence, 'Building a Library', pp. 34, 70, Appendix 3).

After Lewin's death, his family evidently sold his manuscripts, largely then obtained by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead.

After Bland's death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in June, 1866, paid in two instalments of £450 and £400, and then moved to Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

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, Manchester.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s, concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the volume in hand.


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.


    Mr. [R. H.] Evans, Catalogue of the Library of the Late Sir William Jones, Judge of the Supreme Court of Bengal, and President of the Asiatic Society : with the Books Added Subsequently to His Death, by His Widow, Lady Jones... London: Mr. Evans, 1831) p. 17, no. 433.
    J. Lawrence, 'Building a Library: The Arabic and Persian Manuscript Collection of Sir William Jones', Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Jan. 2021): pp. 1–70.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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