Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 28 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Illustrated copy of Laylā va Majnūn.
Author: unknown
Language(s): Persian
Colophon: Damaged colophon on folio 97a gives the copyist's name as Yusuf.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Gold-flecked margins. Written surface powdered with gold.
Extent: 97 folios
Dimensions (leaf): 19 × 12.7 cm.
Dimensions (written): 12.1 × 6.7 cm.

Persian foliation in ink, with folio 1 omitted from numbering.


Persian foliation has been corrected in pencil.




Sixteen miniatures, probably of the mid 16th century. Noteworthy features include the form of turban worn by the male characters, the prominence given to tigers in the animal scenes, a fondness for mauve and yellow and non-Persian forms of thrones, crowns, swords, interior architecture, tents, the sun, moon and sky. The spindly trees are also characteristic of Western Indian manuscripts and are without parallel sixteenth-century Persian miniatures. These characteristics seem to point to somewhere in non-Mughal India in the mid-sixteenth century. Remains of fine illuminated heading at the beginning of the text (central panel lost and later replaced) and intercolumnar band of fine illumination.


Late oriental binding of black morocco (recornered and rebacked) with remains of gilt paper inlay.


Origin: Miniatures probably mid 16th century AH

Provenance and Acquisition

Damaged colophon on folio 97a gives the copyist's name as Yusuf.

Formerly part of the collection of the Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865). Bland’s oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993. Identification of provenance based on manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s.

Manuscript description based on B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980).


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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