Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 29 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A nearly complete, illuminated and illustrated Safavid-era copy of the Subḥat al-Abrār (Rosary of the Pious), the third of seven books in the collection entitled Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) by ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492). A scribe named Shāh Muḥammad al-Kātib completed this volume, in the Safavid Empire, probably during the late 16th century CE.
Incipit: (preface) برگ ۲پ (folio 2b): ...مجالس بانگشتش فراهم نماید بآن سزا(؟) استغفر الله...
Explicit: برگ ۱۱۱ر (folio 111a): حس مقطع چو بود رسم کهن * قطع کردیم بدین بخته سخن | ختم لله لنا بالحسنی * هو مولانا نعم المولی.
Colophon: برگ ۱۱۱ر (folio 111a): حرره العبد المذنب شاه محمد الکاتب غفر الله ذنوبه.
Colophon: Completed by Shāh Muḥammad al-Kātib.
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this text held in the Rylands see Persian MS 533, 534, and 851, as well as in the Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) Persian MS 949.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Original text comprised of cross-grained paper cream coloured paper, with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines, probably manufactured in the Safavid Empire, with some folios tinted in orange and straw tones, and all finely sprayed with gold. All but the first and final folios subsequently remargined with thin-weight, straight-grained, buff-coloured, highly flocked paper, with ~10 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines, Indian subcontinent, also employed for the flyleaves.
Extent: 111 folios, 6 flyleaves (iii + 111 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 197 × 127 mm.
Dimensions (written): 124 × 60 mm.
Foliation: Unfoliated.


Primarily quaternions, inclusive of endpapers. 13IV(102)1IV+1(111)+1II(vi) Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left remargined corners of the b sides throughout.


handle text with caution. In fair condition, with some pages sticking, extensive surface damage to the original text. The painting on folio 111b appears particularly vulnerable, friable, and heavily repaired, with breaks at the outer edges.


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


Copied by Shāh Muḥammad al-Katīb


Illustration: A single illustration appears on folio 111b, possibly the remnant of a double-page outdoor princely scene now nearly completely obliterated, possibly completed in late 16th centry Qazvin, and mounted on a illuminated folio that resembles 1a.

Illumination:The text of the current first folio (the original opposite now missing) outlined in cloudbands infilled with gold, with surrounding margins featuring floral scrollwork in blue and pink agianst a solid gold ground.

Inscriptions: The third right flyleaf a side (f. iiia) signed ‘Edw Galley’ by former owner Edward Galley adjacent to his seal impression.
The final left flyleaf b side (f. vib) numbered ‘Nº 12’.
Bookplates and pasted item: The left pastedown bears an unsigned note in Edward Galley's hand, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ bookplate with pencilled shelfmark ‘F/10’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 39’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘123’ written aside.


Probably rebound in a European manner for former Edward Galley, possibly in Surat

Text remargined and endpapers of the same paper added at beginning and end. Sewn on three cord supports, laced into pasteboards. Edges trimmed, with front-bead decorative endbands sewn at head and tail. Covered in full medium-brown goatskin leather.

The Right board bears a paper label with the title and author's name in Persian.
Spine lettered with the transliterated title in gold.

200 × 131 × 29 mm.

Binding in good condition, with boards warped and yawning.


The third right flyleaf a side (f. iiia) bears a black oval seal impression, intaglio-carved in one nasta‘līq script line, double-ruled, with the name of former owner Edward Galley
9 × 14 mm.


Origin: Probably completed by Shāh Muḥammad al-Kātib in the Safavid Empire; undated, probably late 16th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently by Edward Galley (ca. 1750-1804) who signed and impressed his seal upon the third right flyleaf a side (f. iiia). He possibly obtained the volume while serving as East India Company Resident at Bushire (Bushehr) between 1780 to 1787. Ultimately Collector-General of Surat, India where he passed away, Galley's executors subsequently sold his library there; however, the identity of the purchaser and circumstances of the volume's arrival in Britain remain unclear (see Robinson, p. 209).

Later obtained by Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865) from an unknown source for for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead. After his 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. Identification of provenance based on manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s.

Codicological description derived from B. W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980).

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.


    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), cols. 754–755, nos. 1317–1318 [British Library IO Islamic 3141 and 1317].
    D. Forbes, Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Chiefly Persian, Collected Within the Last Five and Thirty years (London: W. H. Allen., 1866), pp. 78–79, no. 244 [Rylands Persian MS 851].
    Jāmī Classic Selections From Some of the Most Esteemed Persian Writers, Vol. 2: Subhutool Abraur Calcutta: Asiatic Lithographic Company Press 1828: pp. 1–75
    Jāmī, Subḥat al-Abrār. Lucknow: Nawal Kishore, Rabī‘ I 1306 (Nov. 1888 CE).
    Jāmī, Mas̲navī-i Haft Awrang Vol. 1, No. 4: Subḥat al-Abrār. Edited by Ḥusayn Aḥmad Tarbiyat (Tehran: Mīrās-i Maktūb, 1378 SH [1999 CE]): pp. 551–700
    P. Losensky, 'Jāmi i. Life and Works’', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. XIV, Fasc. 5 (2008), pp. 469-475 .
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 644–646 [British Library Add. 7770/3, &c.].
    B. W. Robinson, 'R.A.S. MS 178: An Unrecorded Persian Painter'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 2 (1970): p. 209.
    B. W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London: Sotheby Parke Bennet, 1980), p. 2243, no. 686.
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), cols. 618–619, nos. 897–889 [Bodleian Ouseley 290/5, &c.].
    Tawfīq Subḥānī, 'Kitāb'hā-yi khaṭṭī-i Fārsī fihrist nashudah dar Kitābkhānah Jān Rāylāndz, Manchistir' Majallah-'i Dānishkadah-i Adabiyāt va ‘Ulūm-i Insānī n.s., Vol. 1, Nos. 2-3 (1372 SH [1993 CE]): p. 168, no. 8 [Rylands Persian ms 949].

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Persian Heritage Foundation


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