Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 301 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This Parsi work in Persian verse, entitled Changranghāchah-nāmah relates the story of an of an Indian sage who travels to the court of the Persian king, Shāh Gushtāsp in order to denounce the spread of Zoroastrianism, but then ultimately converts to the faith. Following a relatively lengthy preface in praise of Ahura-mazda, author Zartusht Bahrām-i Pazhdū, who also composed the Zartushtnāmah (Book of Zoroaster, see Rylands Persian MS 300) and a metrical translation of the Ardāvīrāfnāmah (Book of Ardā Vīrāf, see Rylands Persian MS 41) declares that he abandoned all of his other engagements to compose a New Persian redaction of this neglected tale for the benefit of others.
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): سر دفتر بنام پاک یزدان * نگهدار زمین و چرح گردان | اشو هست ایزد و بخشنده داور * خدای دادگر دادار خاور.
Explicit: برگ ۳۲پ (folio 32b): ببرده از زمین اسبر غم و ریحان * زده فرش حریر اندر گلستان.
Colophon: برگ‌های ۳۲پ-۳۳ر (folios 32b–33a): تمت تمام شد کار من نظام شد. فرجید بدرود شادی و رامشنی بروز مینو رام بماه مبارک امرداد سال اورهزار بیست و نه از شاهنشاه ایزدجردی تمام شد [۳۳ر] و کاتب الحروف من بنده دین به مازدیسنان کیکه بن مهرجی بن رانان بن جاندا و این نسخه از دین مازدیستان نوشته شد هر که خواند دعا و آفرین انوشه رساند. هر که خواند دعای طمع دارم * ز آنکه من بنده کنه کارم | من نوشتم تا بر آید روزگار * من نمانم این بماند یادگار.
Colophon: Completed by Kīkah b. Mihrjī b. Rānān b. Chāndā on the day of Rām (12) month of Amurdād 1029 AY (22 March 1660 CE), equal to Samvat 1717 VS (as written in Gujarati to the left).
Language(s): Persian

The author references himself on folios 23v and again on 31v:

بگیتی و بمینو دار نیکو * دل زرتشت بن بهرام پژدو

زفانش از کرم کردی نو گویا * نمودی دین فرستادی اوستا

زرتشت بن بهرام پژدو * بیاور شرح حال قصه بر گو

He also describes his other works, the Mawlud-i Zartusht (مولود زرتشت) on folio 29b and his metrical translation of the the Ardā-yī vīrāf (اردای ویراف) on folio 30a:

کتابی بود زان مولود زرتشت * درو چیزی که بد مقصود زرتشت

پس این دیگر کتابی برگزیده * ز دل بروی گشادم هر دو دیده

درو بد قصۀ اردای ویراف * بدو در نیک و بدها کرده اوصاف.

On folio 7a–b the author declares how he felt compelled to versify the story, and thus reveal a hidden 'treasure' for the benefit of others, the same rationale for his composition of the Zartushtnāmah (compare with Persian MS 300, folio 2a):

همه هم گفت گفتند ای سخن دان * بکن جهدی درین از بهر یزدان

که این قصه بزرگ و ارجمند است * همه گفتار او اندرز و پند است

نبرد اندران دانندگان رنج * نهفته لاجرم ماندست آن گنج

سخن چون نظم شد هم خوشترآید * بگوش آواز هم بهتر سر آید

همی بینی این قصه‌های کهن * کزو یاد نارد کسی اصل و بن

همان به که این را بنظم آوردی * بپاکیزه گفتار خط دری

مگر نو شود این سخن در جهان * بخواند همه کس از این داستان

1. 1b
Title: داستان جنگهر نکهاجه
2. 6b
Title: سبب پیدا کردن نظم کتاب
3. 13a
Title: حکایت پیغمبر یزدان
4. 1a
Title: داستان زرتشت با جنگر نکهانجه
5. 23b
Title: یافت (؟) خواستاری
6. 31b
Title: آغاز کتاب

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Straight-grained, thin ivory-coloured laid Indian handmade paper, with one left flyleaf of cross-grained heavier ivory-coloured laid Indian handmade paper and later endleaves of European wove.
Extent: 33 folios (ff. i + 33 + ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 209 × 121 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160 × 90 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numbers on the upper left corners of the a sides; in Gujarati numerals in black ink on the b sides.


4IV+1(33). Quaternions throughout, with folio 25a tipped onto the previous section. Catchwords on the lower-left corners of the b sides throughout.


In good condition; although the first folio tipped to the right flyleaf does not fully open to the gutter.


Written in 1 column with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in a plain Indian hand approaching nasta‘līq primarily in black with subheaders in red.

  • The right pastedown bears a pasted paper inscribed ‘Chenghrenghachah Nameh’, above Hindley's bookplate.
  • Folio 1a bears the title ‘داستان جنگهر نکهاجه’ nasta‘liq, ‘Tchenghrénghâtchan Namah’ in sepia with a note ‘From Guise's collection’ and ‘V. Antiquil du Perron’, unsigned, but very likely in the hand of Samuel Hawtayne Lewin, as it comports with inscriptions in other volumes that he previously owned (see Rylands Persian MS 41, 93, 287, and 300.
  • Folio 1a also inscribed in Gujarati: ‘દાશતાંન ચંગરંગાચ નાંમે તા. દાશતાંન બાંનુ ગોશસપની લખી શહી’ (‘Dāśtān caṃgaregāc nāme tā. dāstān bānu gośaspnī lakhī [che sahī (smudged)]’, ‘The story of the Changranghachanama and the story of Banu Goshasp [Bānūgushasbnāmah]are written’). Note that despite this notation, this volume lacks the second title.
  • Folio 26b bears the word ‘اهریمن’ (‘ahrīman’, ‘devil’) written upside-down.
  • Right pastedown: ‘John Haddon Hindley’.
  • Left pastedown: ‘Bibilotheca Lindesiana’ with shelf mark ‘2/J’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 521’.


Probably bound in Surat for former owner Samuel Guise. Sewn at three stations, possibly laced or bridled into the pasteboards, cut flush with the edges of the textblock and back-cornered, with defined exterior joints. Covered in an Indian-style binding in full, tight backed, red goatskin leather, without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche).

Boards decorated with blind stamped silver paper onlays (now darkly tarnished), with a scalloped central mandorla with quintafoil scrollwork, detached quatrefoil floral pendants, floral scrollwork scalloped corners. The perimeters of the boards are framed in a wide floral scrollwork band embossed with a decorative roll on pink paper. Thin yellow ruled single lines criss-cross the central decoration, surround the corners, and both sides of the embossed pink paper border. with the same blocked designs as on Rylands Persian MS 41, 300, and 926. Titled Chenghrenghachah Nameh in gold on the spine.

212 × 126 × 12 mm.


Origin: Completed by Kīkah b. Mihrjī b. Rānān b. Chāndā, probably in Surat; day of Rām (12) month of Amurdād 1029 AY (22 March 1660 CE), equal to Samvat 1717 VS (as written in Gujarati to the left)

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), 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. Since Guise omits this manuscript in his first catalogue published in 1792, but William Ouseley notes the title in his Oriental Collections in 1798, Guise likely acquired it after he returned to India.

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

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 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 2022 with reference to the volume in hand, and in consultation with both Ursula Sims-Williams, British Library, and Prof Daniel Sheffield, Princeton University, whom transliterated and translated the Gujarati inscriptions and deciphered the date in the colophon.


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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