Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 300 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Zartusht Bahrām Pazhdū (fl. 1278), the author of metrical translations of the Ardāvīrāfnāmah (Book of Ardāvīrāf, see Rylands Persian MS 41) and Dāstān-i Changranghāchah-nāmah (Story of Changranghāchah, see Rylands Persian MS 301), redacted this versified account of the birth and life of the prophet Zoroaster, from an earlier, undated version ascribed to Kay Kā'ūs bin Kay Khusraw bin Dārā of Rayy.
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): سخن را بنام خدای جهان * بآغاز بیاغاز[sic] در آشکار و نهان.
Explicit: برگ ۶۲پ (folio 62a): بدانم سیاس خداوند گفت * که باد آتش دین مرا کرد جفت.
Colophon: No colophon.

An inscription on folio 1b entitles the manuscript as Mawlūd-i Zartusht (‘مولود زرتشت’) with the same also given in the text on folio 61b (‘ چو مولود زرتشت خوانی تمام * بدل کن برو آفرینی تمام ’) The author also references this text by an alternate title, Jingihir Nighājah (‘جنگهر نگهاچه’, see Persian MS 301), where he states that his mother used to read to him two works (daftar) of the Mawlūd-i Zartusht and the Ardā-yī vīrāf (‘دو دفتر بود نقل اندر بر من کتابی بود زان مولود زرتشت درو چیزی که بد مقصود زرتشت’) Note that beginning of this manuscript corresponds with that described by Sachau and Ethé in the Bodleian Library and also to some extent to that in Rieu's held in the British Museum, but differs from the volume described by Ethé in the India Office Library.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 64 folios, without endleaves (ff. 64); (Text from folios 1a to 62b).
Dimensions (leaf): 252 × 143 mm.
Dimensions (written): 206 × 103 mm.

Original Gujarati foliation in ink, on the upper right corners of the b sides beginning on the first folio.


Foliation in pencilled Arabic numbers on the upper left corners of the a sides by the cataloguer


8IV(64). Quaternions throughout. Catchwords on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Text in very good condition.


Written in 2 columns with 13 lines to the page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


written in an Indian nasta‘līq hand in black with headings on folios 1b to 4b in red but omitted thereafter.

Additions: Inscriptions:
  • Right pastedown: Signed by former owner John Haddon Hindley.
  • Folio 1a: ‘No. 408: ZerdushtNamah, The life of Zoreaster’


    ‘کتاب زرتشت نامه چه خوش گفت بهلول آن نیک فال
    فال که که من پیش ایزدان بودم دو سال’


    Ketāb jartośtnāme lakhīu che.

    (‘The book Zartoshtnāme has been written.’)

Bookplates and Labels
  • Right pastedown: ‘John Haddon Hindley (1765–1827)’.
  • Left pastedown: bookseller's ticket of ‘Howell and Stewart, 295 Holborn,London, successors to Ogle, Duncan, & Co.’, ‘Bibilotheca Lindesiana’ with shelf mark ‘F/6’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 520’.


Very likely bound in Surat. Sewn at two unsupported stations. No endbands. Covered in an Indian style binding full, tight backed, red goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap (Type III binding as per Déroche), without squares so flush with the edges of the textblock, with the boards are back-cornered and defined joints.

Boards decorated with blocked silver paper onlays (now darkly tarnished), featuring scalloped central mandorlas featuring quintafoil scrollwork, detached quatrefoil floral pendants, floral scrollwork corners. Board perimeters bounded by a wide floral scrollwork band embossed with a decorative roll on pink paper. Thin yellow single ruled lines connect the central decoration, surround the corners, and either side of the embossed pink paper border. Titled 'Zertusht Nameh' in gold on the spine. Note Persian MS 41, Persian MS 301, and Persian MS 926 blocked with the same dies. Unusual decorated papers for the doublures.

254 × 146 × 17 mm.

Handle with caution. In fair condition, with sewing broken in the first section.


Origin: Very likely completed in Surat, possibly before 1772

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably acquired by Samuel Guise (1751–1811) in Surat where he served as a surgeon until 1795, possibly from the widow of Dastūr Darab (d. 1772), a Parsi preceptor of Indologist M. Anquetil du Perron between 1758 to 1760. Listed for sale in the second 1793 of Guise's collection, p. 29, no. 354.

Subsequently sold by Leigh and Sotheby, London, on 3 July 1812, where Manchester librarian John Haddon Hindley (1765–1827) purchased it for £3 7s.

After Hindley's death, London antiquarian dealers Howell and Stewart, offered it for sale, from whom legal clerk Samuel Hawtayne Lewin (1795-1840) probably purchased it in Feb. 1828 as per his pencilled note on folio 1a.

Subsequently acquired by Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), after whose death London antiquarian dealer 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 (1843–1908) in 1908 to the John Rylands Library.

Record Sources

Provenance description based on an an essay by Ursula Sims-Williams, 'The Strange Story of Samuel Guise: An 18th-Century Collection of Zoroastrian Manuscripts'.

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 2020 with reference to the volume in hand, and in consultation with both Ursula Sims-Williams, British Library, and Prof Daniel Sheffield, Princeton University, who transliterated and translated the Gujarati inscriptions.


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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute



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