Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 229 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A complete manuscript of the Silsilah-'i Ẕahab (Golden Chain), first of seven books from the Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) by the late Timurid-era poet ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492). While it lacks a signature and date, its condition and 18th century provenance suggest it must be earlier, probably 17th century, and possibly completed in either Greater Iran or the Indian subcontinent.
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): لله الحمد قبل کل کلام * بصفات الجلال والاکرام
Explicit: برگ ۱۷۸ر (folio 178a): ...به همین نکته ختم شد مقصود * لله الحمد والعلی والجود
Colophon: Uninformative, damaged colophon.
Language(s): Persian

For another copy of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 944, also the first work within a Khamsah (Quintet), Persian MS 227, and a Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones), Persian MS 949.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivory-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 236 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 236 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 230 × 142 mm.
Dimensions (written): 153 × 68 mm.
Foliation: Unfoliated.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle text with caution. In fair condition, with extensive water and insect damage, breaks in the gutter margins, and historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 14 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.


Illumination: Folio 1b bears a scalloped domed headpiece with gilt palmette foliate scrollwork on an ultramarine ground and an uninscribed central cartouche, and five vertical radiating lines.

Ruling: Text margins ruled in gold outlined with single internal and double external thin black lines, with internal verdigris green and red single lines, and surrounded by blue single lines.

  • The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears .
  • Folios 1a inscribed with .
Bookplates and pasted items: The left pastedown:
  • Top: A pasted catalogue entry cut from :
    ‘273 SELSELET ALZEHEB- The Chain of Gold, by Jamy; small folio, pp 472, by the poet Jamy: a correct and ancient copy very well written, ruled beauti-
    fully with gold and colours; all the parts complete, with separate Anwans.’
  • Middle: Bookplate of Nathaniel Middleton.
  • ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/H’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 450’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘229’ written aside.


Possibly rebound in for former owner Nathaniel Middleton.

Sewn. Edges trimmed, and chevron endbands of yellow and silver threads twined at head and tail.

242 × 160 × 46 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In


Origin: Possibly completed in either Greater Iran; or the Indian subcontinent; undated, but probably 17th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased for 40 rupees by Alexander Dow (ca. 1730–1779) on 20 Nov. 1764 in Benares (Varanasi).

After Dow's death at Bhagalpur, his survivors inherited and then sold his manuscript collection; however, where and when that occurred and whether he or they brought the volume to Britain remains unclear.

Subsequently acquired by Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), as per his bookplate on the left pastedown.

After Middleton's death, his survivors inherited and sold his manuscripts through the London firm of James Christie Jr (1773–1831) where bookseller William Baynes (fl. 1792–1841) purchased it for £1 8 shillings.

Probably purchased from Baynes by his friend, Methodist minister Rev. Adam Clarke (1762–1832).

After Clarke's death, his son Jospeh Butterworth Bulmer Clarke (d. 1855) inherited the volume and describes its present state in a catalogue published in 1835.

The next year on 20 June 1836, Clarke's son auctioned his father's collection through the London firm of Sotheby & Son where bookseller John Cochran purchased it for £2 4 shillings.

Probably sold by Cochran to Persian 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 1866, and 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.

Subsequently augmented and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2024 with reference to the manuscript 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.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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