Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 267 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A complete, unillustrated copy of the romance of Yūsuf va Zulaykhā, which comprises the fifth of seven books in the collection entitled Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones), composed by Timurid-era poet ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492) in 957 AH (1550–51 CE). A mystical love story of the Prophet Joseph and Potiphar's wife, the author primarily drew inspiration from the twelfth chapter of the Qur'ān Sūrah Yūsuf and references by prior poets. A scribe named ‘Abd al-Raḥīm Bayg probably copied this undated volume for Sir William Jones in Calcutta (Kolkata) between 1783 and 1793 CE.
Patron, Glossator, Former owner and Inscriber: Jones, Sir William
Scribe: ‘Abd al-Raḥīm Bayg;
عبد الرحیم بیگ
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الهی گنچه‌ٔ امید بگشایی * که گلی از روضهٔ جوید نمایی
Explicit: برگ ۱۳۲پ (folio 132b): زبان را گوشمال خامشی ده * که هست از هرچه گویی خامشی به.
Colophon: برگ ۱۳۲پ (folio 132b): تمام شد نسخهٔ یوسف زلیخا بخط اضعاف العباد عبد الرحیم بیگ.
Colophon: Undated, completed by ‘Abd al-Raḥīm Bayg.

For other copies of this work, see Rylands Persian MS 20, 70, 79, 127, 963 and 980, as well as the text within the Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) in Persian MS 949. J. Lawrence argues that ‘Abd al-Raḥīm Bayg appears to be the same scribe as one recommended to Jones, described by Lawrence, pp. 34–35 n92–93, 70, Table 8.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury and buff-coloured paper, the latter highly flocked, probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 135 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. v + 135 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 240 × 134 mm.
Dimensions (written): 177 × 85 mm.
Foliation: Modern pencilled Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides inclusive of the final endleaves.


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


Textblock in good condition.


Written in 1 column with 16 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq by ‘Abd al-Raḥīm Bayg.


Ruling: Central text of folio 1b ruled in red.

Marginalia: Many notes, amendments, and comments written by Sir William Jones.
  • The fifth right flyleaf b side (f. vb) bears a note by Jones:
    ‘Yúsuf Zule’ (probably pertains to British Library, RSPA 35-40. See Lawrence, 'Building a Library', pp. 47–48).
  • Folio 1a signed ‘SH Lewin from Sir Wm Jones's Collection 1831’ by former owner Samuel Hawtayne Lewin.
Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/I’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 355’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘133’ written aside.


Original binding probably contemporary, completed in Calcutta (Kolkata)for Sir William Jones, subsequently resewn and rebacked.

Originally covered in full medium brown goatskin over pasteboards, with internal doublures of red goatskin leather, flush-cut edges, without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche).

Modern resewing at four unsupported stations with polyester thread, with original endpapers retained. Endbands omitted. Spine rebacked in dark brown goatskin leather, and internal hinges of red goatskin leather added to reconnect the cover to the textblock.

Boards decorated with onlays of central scalloped mandorlas, detached pendants, and cornerpieces with floratiate scrollwork designs and birds in the centres, blocked in gold leaf. Central decoration ruled with single ochre lines that connect the central decoration, surrounded by that connect the and cornerpieces and on the external margins.

241 × 151 × 31 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair but stable condition, with leather onlays abraded. Boards yawning due to tight resewing with overly-thin thread.


Origin: Completed by ‘Abd al-Raḥīm Bayg, probably for Sir William Jones (1746–1794)in the Calcutta (Kolkata); undated but probably between 1783 and 1793 CE during Jone's tenure.

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 Thomas Joseph Pettigrew (1791–1865), physician and librarian to Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, (1773–1843) (see Lawrence, 'Building a Library', p. 34).

After the death of the Duke of Sussex, R. H. Evans (1778–1857) again sold the manuscript to 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.

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.


    A. F. L. Beeston, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstânî, and Pushtû Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Part III (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), p.36 no. 2619 [Bodleian Ms. Whinfield 12] .
    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. 746, no. 1300/6 [British Library IO Islamic 800].
    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. 434.
    Messrs Evans Bibliotheca Sussexiana The Extensive and Valuable Library of His Royal Highness the Late Duke of Sussex K.g. &c. &c. ... Which Will Be Sold by Auction by Messrs. Evans No. 93 Pall Mall. (London: Mr. Evans, 1844), p. 23 no. 255.
    M. Kerney, Bibliotheca Lindesiana. Handlist of Oriental Manuscripts, Arabic, Persian, Turkish. ([Aberdeen]: Privately printed, 1898), p. 234, no. 20.
    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.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), p. 645 [British Library Add. 7770/3].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), col.618, no. 897 [Bodleian MS Ouseley 290/5].

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Persian Heritage Foundation


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