Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 188 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This collection of passages copied from various letters and documents in Ottoman Turkish by an anonymous scribe possibly dates to the mid 17th-century, since the last entry dates to 9 Muḥarram 1001 AH (16 October 1592 CE), followed by a subsequent notations dated 1082 AH (1671–72 CE) and 5 Jumādá I 1087 (16 Jul. 1676 CE) respectively. The extracts mainly record the initial passages, written in a highly stylized ornate prose employed in chancery documents. The scribe probably copied these passages to both practice the intricate dīvānī script styles and serve as an epistolographic miscellany to reference when writing similar letters. Copied in a five-part format, with three lines in comparatively large, bold dīvānī sprinkled with metallic particles, a technique employed by Ottoman chanceries for both decoration and as as a security device to prevent tampering, interspersed with longer passages in a smaller divani hand. Since the ruling appears underneath the writing, and this format comports with Qur'an manuscripts, the scribe may have repurposed a juz' pamphlet. The volume also contains several unrelated passages, practice lettering, and notations in other hands.
Author and Compiler: Anonymous
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): چون عواطف افراهٔ شاهانه و عوارف متکاثرهٔ پاک شاهایم مستحق ارتفاع شآن.
Explicit: برگ ۲۹ر (folio 29a): ...ر ذره التفاتلری بو چراقلرینه بهرمند و برابر دیورلمق بابنده عنایت شریفلری مبذول.
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Ottoman Turkish

Prior records describes this volume as as containing 31 folios, when it actually contains 30, and features two works with authorship attributed to one Ismā‘īl ibn Muṣṭafā ibn Muḥammad ibn Khalīl ibn Qāsim al-Rūmī who wrote a notation on 30b written in a distinctly different naskh hand, likely by a subsequent owner of the volume, not the author of a work.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of straight-grained, highly sized and polished European handmade paper, watermarked with a crown and small crescent above and ~2 mm between laid lines and 29 mm between chain lines.
Extent: 30 folios (ff. i + 30 + i)
Dimensions (leaf): 292 × 198 mm.
Dimensions (written): 224 × 138 mm.

Foliation pencilled in Arabic numerals at the top-left corners of the a sides of the folios when catalogued.


Undertermined. No catchwords.


Very good condition.


Written in 1 column, with 9 lines per page.


Written primarily in a five-part format with three large dīvānī bands in black, sprinkled with metallic particles, possibly of either ground mica or marcasite, with two intervening passages in a smaller dīvānī hand, with headers identifying the passages in red naskh.


Hasty marginal ruling in red throughout, in a conspicuous five-part format typically observed in Qur'an manuscripts. This format and number of folios suggests that a stationer may have originally intended it as a juz', of a thirty-part Qur'an manuscript, which a scribe obtained to copy select ornate prose passages, written over the ruling in several areas.

  • The first flyleaf bears a notation from Duncan Forbes:
    ‘For N. Bland Esq., with kindest regards from D. Forbes.’
  • Folio 1a bears practice letter combinations (mufradāt), the opening line of a ḥadīth at the bottom, and repeated signatures by a scribe named Ḥasan (possibly the same individual who impressed his seal on folio 30b) inscribed on the left margin in a black dīvānī hand.
  • Folio 2a, top, bears the first line of a bar'āt repeated from the top of folio 1b opposite.
  • Folios 29b to 30a inscribed with three basmallah and portions of Qur'anic quotations in Arabic, in a comparatively amateur large thuluth and naskh hands.
  • Folio 30b bears several inscriptions in different hands:

    • Top: A brief Ottoman Turkish passage regarding a pilgrimage undertaken in the company of 3,000 soliders, with an adjacent date of 1082 AH (1671–72 CE) written in an amatuer naskh hand.
    • Middle: underneath an unidentified Arabic couplet, a notation signed by Ismā‘īl ibn Muṣṭafā ibn Muḥammad ibn Khalīl ibn Qāsim al-Rūmī dated 5 Jumādá I 1087 (16 Jul. 1676 CE).
    • Bottom: An Arabic passage regarding the merits of fasting on the day of ‘Ashūra, the 10th of Muḥarram.
    • Arabic couplets of ‘Shaykh Muḥyī al-Dīn’, probably Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn al-‘Arabī (1165–1240).
    • Quotation from Qur'an 38:26 regarding the Prophet David, with an added passages.
Bookplates: The left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/C’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 409’.


Resewn on five recessed cords, laced into the pasteboards, without endbands. Rebound in a German-style quarter medium-brown calfskin leather binding with green vellum tips and ochre-coloured paper sides. Endpapers also of European handmade paper, with a curious watermark of cursive letters ‘ab’, with ~1mm between laid lines and ~36 mm between chain lines.

Spine panels paletted in gold with single dotted lines, with solid fillet lines and dotted rope designs on either side, and wheel rosettes in the centres.

297 × 208 × 12 mm.

In fair condition. Board exteriors, edges, and tailcap abraded; upper headcap missing.


Folio 30b bears impressions made by two different seals: an octagonal, roughly intalgio-cut in naskh script in two stacked lines with the name of former owner Ḥasan dated 1167 AH (1753–54 CE), impressed twice in black ink, with a second partially legible oval seal impression.

توكلي على الخالقي
عبده حسن ١١٦٧

Tawwakulī ‘alà Khāliqī, ‘Abduhu Ḥasan, 1167.’ (‘I trust in my Creator, his servant Ḥasan, 1167’). Note that Jan Schmidt misinterpreted this pious Arabic phrase frequently observed upon Ottoman seals as ‘ʿAlī b. (?) Ḥasan Ḫalīfe (= clerk in a public office)’.

12 × 14 mm.

Oval intaglio seal impressed in black ink, possibly with the name of a former owner or associate Fażil Ḥasan

15 × 19 mm.


Origin: Ottoman empire; probably early to mid-17th century.

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly in the possession of one Fażil Ḥasan and Ḥasan, based upon their seal impressions, the latter dated 1167 AH (1753–54 CE)

Subsequently acuired by Persian scholar Duncan Forbes (1798–1868), who then presented it to fellow scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865), as per his inscription on folio the first right flyleaf (f. ia).

After Bland's 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

For a description of the contents, see Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester

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

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the volume in hand, and in consultation with Prof Colin Imber, University of Manchester, regarding the volume's identification and reading of the Ottoman explicit.


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.

Custodial History

Exhibited in Gilded Word and Radiant Image at the John Rylands Library, sponsored by Altajir Trust, 9 Sept. to 21 Dec. 1992 .

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


    Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester (Leiden: Brill, 2011), pp. 306–308.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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