Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 243 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This undated abridgement of the Dīvān-i Shams-i Tabrīzī by Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī contains roughly 600 ghazal lyric poems. While it omits stanzaic poems and quatrains typically found in the full version of the work, this manuscript includes verses not found in standard editions.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): گر تو بخشی روشنی اي به لقا * رویتو بنماید و گنج لقا.
Explicit: برگ ۳۶۴ر (folio 364a): شمس تبریز رفت و ریزی(؟) گفت * آن خردمند بود آنکه بگفت.
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Written on medium-weight, tan-coloured straight-grained paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent, with ~1.5 mm. between laid lines and few discernible chain lines, externally sized, and polished.
Extent: 222 folios, 3 flyleaves (ff. ii + 222 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 230 × 139 mm.
Dimensions (written): 176 × 101 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides by the cataloguer.


Collation undetermined due to tight opening from resewing. Catchwords present at the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle with caution. In fair condition, with extensive repairs to the pages in the gutters and fore-edge. Extensive water damage, ink transfer, and also intentional obliteration of prior seals.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Primarily written in black nasta‘līq script.


Ruling: Marginal ruling throughout in gold outlined with thin black internal single lines and external double lines, surrounded by a comparatively thick ultramarine blue lines.

Marginalia: Pencilled motes likely in the hand of former own Turner Macan, including several that suggest he considered specific passages for recitations, possibly for teaching or administering examinations that he conducted at Fort William College in Calcutta (Kolkata today) in circa 1823.
  • The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears modern pencilled marks with the title at top, followed by a description in neat minuscule followed by a Persian quote appears in the hand of former owner Nathaniel Bland
  • The second right flyleaf a side (f. ia), top-left, signed ‘T. Macan’ by former owner Turner Macan, who may have pencilled the Persian quotation beneath a crudly-drawn black geometric decorative design with the title of the work in Persian.
Bookplates: The left paste-down: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/I’, ‘Bland MSS No. 464’.


Probably rebound for former owner Turner Macan.

Resewn on three recessed cords, laced into the pasteboards. Edges trimmed and finely spattered in reddish-brown, and European-style, with front-bead decorative endbands sewn in red and white silk threads at head and tail. Half-bound, tight-backed, in brown speckled calfskin leather, and marbled paper sides featuring pink 'Stormont' over olive green 'Shell' with black veins.

The spine panels palleted with double fillets flanked by waved lines on either side, with rows of central quatrefoils. Titled

on a black skiver leather label.

240 × 152 × 31 mm.

Handle with caution. Binding in fair but stable condition, with extensive abrasion and cracking at the headcaps and external joints, bumped lower coners, and broken endband at the head. Boxed.

Three types of intaglio-carved black seal impressions.

1: Folios 27a, 28a, 29a, 126a, and 133a bear rectangular seal impressions in two stacked lines of nasta‘līq script, single-ruled, with a former owner or associate named Sadā Sukh (meaning 'endless bliss' in Hindustani), dated 1187 AH (1787–88 CE): سدا سکہہ ۱۱۸۷ 12 × 14 mm.

2: Folio 52a bears a partially legible oval seal impression in two stacked lines of nasta‘līq script, single-ruled, possibly also with the former owner or associate named Sadā Sukh (meaning 'endless bliss' in Hindustani), dated 1187 AH (1787–88 CE): سدا سکہہ ۱۱۸۷ 14 × 20 mm.

3: Folio 202a bears an immolated circular seal impression. 22


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; ; undated, but probably late 17th to early 18th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acuired by Turner Macan (1792-1836), Persian translator for the British East India Company, and instructor at Fort William College, who published the first critical edition of the Shāhnāmah of Firdawsī in 1829.

During a visit to Britain in Nov. 1833, Macan evidently sold an unspecified number of manuscripts to scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) for £91, 3 shillings, and sixpence (see Bland papers, British Library, Add. 30378, no. 199), so the latter may have obtained this volume at that time. However after Macan's death, his family also sold some volumes in Calcutta (Kolkata) through the firm of Jenkins, Low & Co., but another subsequent sale by Evans in London on 12 Dec. 1838 omits this title.

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.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands 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 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.


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.


    Nathaniel Bland Papers. British Library, Add. 30378, no. 199.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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