Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 199 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A copy of the Bahār-i Dānish (Spring of Wisdom) authored by ʻInāyat Allāh (d. ca. 1671) in 1061 AH (1651 CE) during the reign of Shāh Jahān, relates the romantic adventures of Jahāndār Sulṭān and Bahravar Bānū, which serves as a frame story interwoven with other tales. One of six copies held in the Rylands, this redaction contains a preface by the author's younger brother and pupil Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ followed by the author's own introduction in which he explains how he adapted the tale from one that he heard a young Brahmin recite. A scribe named Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ghūrī Banī Hāshimī al-Qurayshī completed the volume on behalf of Henry John Chandler (ca. 1754–1823) on 1189 AH (28 Jul. 1775, who at that time served as a Persian translator in Murshidabad, Bengal.
Scribe: Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ghūrī Banī Hāshimī al-Qurayshī;
محمد حسین غوری بنی هاشمی القریسی
Incipit: (basmala) صفحه‌ی ۱ (page 1): فاتحه کتاب مستطاب افرینش و پیرایهٔ صحیفهٔ دانش و بینش حمد خداوند خردبخش سخن آفرین و صورت نمای معنی ایجاد و تکوین است که بر لطایف ابداع و صنایع اختراع قدرت کامله پس از ماهتاب... پيرايه ده ديباچه سخن، حمد حكيمي است كه ملك معني را به وساطت تيغ ناطقه مسخر معشر بشر گردانيد.
Explicit: صفحه‌ی ۲۱۸ (page 218): سیه کاری مکن چون خامهٔ خویش * بشو از چشم بر خون نامه‌ٔ خویش | زبان را گوشمالی خاموشی ده * که هست از هرچه کوئی خاموشی به.
Colophon: صفحه‌ها‌ی ۲۱۸-۲۱۹ (pages 218–219): ۲- ۲ چانرلد .تمت هذا الکتاب موسوم بهار دانش در مقام داده موضع از مصاف گهر گهیور(؟) دردا من کوه در شکر پلتن(؟) گیتیان برگ بهادر بتاریخ سلخ جمادی الاول روز یکشنبه وقت سهریه سنه ۱۱۸۸ یکهزار و یکصد و هشتاد و هشت هجری نبوی صلی الله علیه و سلم بخط سراسر غلط محمد حسین غوری بنی هاشمی القریسی بموجب فرمانش قبله ظاهر و باطن کعبه اهل الله حضرت شاه اسرار الله صاحب دام ابقاه و اطلاله برای سیر صاحب صاحبان بسروی مسیح آسمان چاندلر۲ صاحب سلمه الله تعالی دام اقباله و افضاله تحریر یافت.(در حاشیه هم نوشته شده است: ۲ جاندلر صاحب).
Colophon: Completed by Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ghūrī Banī Hāshimī al-Qurayshī on behalf of Henry John Chandler. While the date reads Sunday, the last day of Jumadà I 1188 AH (7 Aug. 1774) written both numerically and literally; however, the number 9 written over the final digit would read 1189 AH (28 Jul. 1775, which would comport with Chandler's Persian acquisition statement on the first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) dated 14 Aug. 1775.
Language(s): Persian

S. H. Qasemi documents 244 manuscripts and printed editions of this work. C. A. Storey also notes various manuscripts and translations into English, German, French, Turkish, and Urdu. For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 88, 463, 919, 991, and 1017. For a glossary of terms found in this work entitled Rang-i Bahār by ‘Abd al-Bāqī, see Persian MS 477.

Henry John Chandler's life and career remain understudied, but he was born in ca. 1854 to John Chandler of Old Jewry, London. He was admitted to the Bengal Civil Service in 1771 then arrived in Bengal on 30 Jul 1772. He first served as an Assistant at Cossimbazar in 1772 until 1774, then appointed Persian Translator at Murshidabad, Bengal in 1774 until 1775, at which time he likely commissioned this volume. He subsequently served as Assistant to the President of the Board of Trade in 1775–1776, Assistant to the Resident of Oudh (Awadh)in 1776–1777, then ulitmately a Factor with the same duties (presumably also in Awadh) 1777–1779, after which he resigned his post and returned to Britain in 1780. He also commissioned at least one other manuscript, India Office Islamic 1503 and 1650, see Ethé Catalogue nos. 2476–2477.

British Library, India Office Records, IOR/J/1/8/358 (appointment as Writer) and IOR/O/6/22 (career summary). K. D. Bhargava, Indian Records Series (Fort William India House Correspondence), Vol. 6 (Delhi: National Archives of India, 1960), p. 137 no. 18. (Appointment as a Writer in 1772) H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office, Vol. 1 (London: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903), col. 1342, nos. 2476–2477 [British Library, IO Islamic 1650 and 1503.]. Abolala Soudavar, Art of the Persian Courts: Selections from the Art and History Trust Collection (New York: Rizzoli, 1992), p. 409, no. 180a. (Chandler's Persian seal matrix dated 1777)

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of straight-grained, externally sized and polished, natural ivoury and tea-stained paper, probably handmade in Bengal, with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 360 folios, 10 flyleaves (ff. iv + 360 + vi).
Dimensions (leaf): 160 × 110 mm.
Dimensions (written): 116 × 64 mm.
Foliation: Paginated in a combination of sepia ink and pencilled Hindu-Arabic numerals up to page 325, then from page 330 onwards on every ten folios, written on the upper-right corners of the b sides. corners of the a sides when catalogued.


Undetermined, but probably quaternions throughout Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Text in good condition with minor insect or rodent damage along the edges.


Written in 1 column with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders by Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ghūrī Banī Hāshimī al-Qurayshī.

  • The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title in Persian and Latin script in the centre, the numbers ‘21’ and ‘2766’an accession notation in Persian by patron Henry John Chandler (fl. ca. 1767–1779), dated 14 Aug. 1785
    : ‘ هنرى جان چاندلر درگیرپای سکونت داشته بود سنه خریت یک هزار و هفت و صد و هفتاد و پنچ روز چهاردهم ماه آگست’.
  • The second right flyleaf a side (f. iia): ‘Nº 21’ at top-right with a pale, pencilled list of various titles in Persian and what may be prices paid for them aside.
  • The second right flyleaf b side (f. iib)a brief glossary pale, pencilled list of various titles in Persian and what may be prices paid for them aside.
  • The final left flyleaf a side (f. iia) ‘2700’.
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/K’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 420’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘199’ written aside.


Probably bound for the patron of the volume, Henry John Chandler, possibly in Lucknow during his tenure as an assistant to the Resident there.

Sewn all-along on two flat supports, probably leather thongs, without gaps in the thread. Endpapers of similar stock added at the beginning and end. Edges trimmed, and twined chevron endbands worked in yellow silk and silver threads over round cord or leather cores with bevelled ends. Covered in full crimson goatskin leather over pasteboards, tight-backed, without a flap, cut nearly flush with the edges, with defined exterior joints (Type III binding per Déroche). Interior doublures lined in the same leather, the excess width adhered to the first and last flyleaves as hinges connecting the textblock to the cover, with strips of paper adhered over top to disguise the joins.

Spine decorated with four raised bands, two sewing supports with false bands added at head and tail. Green goatskin leather onlays adhered to the top, middle, and bottom panels. All panels and band edges painted with gold checkerboard designs, save for the middle one, which features a nine quatrefoils. Boards margins decorated with a wide band of painted gold ruling, subsequently repeately punched with insular dots, with thin single lines painted on either side, and perpendicular radiating lines on the inside. Board edges also painted with gold quatrefoils. Title written on the head and tail edges of the textblock

167 × 118 × 48 mm.

Binding in fair but stable condition, with upper corner of the right board chewed away by rodents.


Origin: Completed by Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ghūrī Banī Hāshimī al-Qurayshī for Henry John Chandler (fl. 1767–1779) then a Persian translator in the Bengal Civil Service in Murshidabad; ; however, he also commissioned two other manuscripts now in the British Library the previous year in Maksuadabad (near Kalyanpur); 1189 AH (28 Jul. 1775). After Chandler resigned his post and returned to Britain in circa 1779, he likely brought this volume with him.

Provenance and Acquisition

After Chandler's death, likely inherited by his son Rev. George Chandler (ca. 1779–1859), who then likely sold it.

Subsequently acquired scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) from an unidentified source. After his death, London bookseller 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, 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, and in consulation with Karen Stapely, British Library, regarding Chandler's life and career.


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.


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Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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