Persian MS 305 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)
Ottokar-Maria von Schlechta-Wssehrd (1825–1894) published the earliest critical edition of the Persian text together with a German translation in 1846. The Kama Shastra Society co-founded by Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821–1890) and Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot (1833–1901) published the first complete, albeit anonymous English translation by Edward Rehatsek (1819-1891) in 1877, available only by private subscription. Sorabji Fardunji Mulla published the first publicly-available English translation in Mumbai (Bombay) in 1899.
Textblock comprised of sized and polished, ivory-coloured, thin Indian handmade paper.
Foliation marked in pencil at the top-right of the a sides in Arabic numerals by the cataloguer.
12IV(96). Catchwords on b side of nearly every folio.
Handle with caution: there is extensive insect damage throughout. The first and last folios are heavily tipped to the flyleaves in the gutter and so do not open flat.
Written in 1 to 2 columns, 13 lines per page. Pages ruled with a miṣtarah
Written in nasta‘liq script in black ink with names, sub-headers, and corrections in red.
Marginalia and emendations to the text in a second shikasta-ta‘liq hand in black ink.
- Signatures: folio 1a, signed by former owners Richard Whytell Rotton (1770–1810) ‘Rd. W. Rotton 14 April 1790’ (underneath his Persian seal), as well as ‘Macan’ the surname of Turner Macan (1792–1836).
- Bookplates: left paste-down, Bibliotheca Lindesiana with shelfmark ‘2/J’, ‘Bland MSS No. 525’.
Sewn on four sawn-in cords then laced into the pasteboards. Bound in India tight-backed in full artificially-grained and polished red goatskin, with squares at the edges, but no endbands. Spine titled at the head in gold handle-letters ‘BAHA- RSTAN OF JAMI MS’. Endleaves of heavier Indian handmade paper. 220 × 157 × 16 mm.
A large seal impression of former owner Richard Whytell Rotton (1770–1810) dated in the 32nd regnal year of Shāh ʻĀlam II (1790–91), intaglio carved rectangular seal stacked in three lines of nasta‘liq script and impress in black ink, accompanied by his signature:
Transcription: روشن الدوله مبارز الملک رچارد وطل راطن اسعد بهادر ثابت چنگ
Transliteration: ‘Rawshan al-Dawlah Mubāriz al-Mulk Richārd Viṭal Rāṭin Asʻad Bahādur Sābit Jang, [sana] 32 (1790–91)’.
11 × 25 mm.
Provenance and Acquisition
Formerly owned by British mercenary and spy Richard Whytell Rotton (1770–1810), then acquired by Turner Macan (1792–1836) as per their signatures and the former's seal on as per his seal on folio 1a. Possibly auctioned at Macan's estate sale by Jenkins, Low & Co. in Calcutta (Kolkata), then acquired by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865). After Bland’s death, his oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).
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.
Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993. Identification of provenance based on manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s. Emended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2020 with reference to the manuscript.
Funding of Cataloguing
Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute