Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 306 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A complete copy of the Bahāristān (Spring Garden), originally composed by Timurid court poet and renowned Sufi ‘Abd al-Raḥman Jāmī (1414–1492) in 892 AH (1487 CE). Modelled upon the Gulistān (Rose Garden) of Saʻdī, he divided the work into eight chapters or 'gardens' (rawz̤ah) devoted to Sufi saints and philosophers, the topics of justice, generosity, love, and comedy, as well as a highly esteemed section on poetic literature, and the last regarding animals. A Bosnian scribe completed this manuscript, probably in the Ottoman empire, on end of Ẕī-l-Qa‘dah 975 AH (early June 1568 CE).
Scribe: Muḥammad al-Busnavī محمد البسنوی
Incipit: (basmalla) :(folio 1b) چو مرغ امر ذی بالی ز آغاز * نه از نیروی حمد آید به پرواز
Explicit: :(folio 96b) خدایا بفضلت باران رحمت ببار * بر کاتب و بر ناظر و بر خواننده این کتیب. غفر الله لکاتبه ولاستاده ولجمیع المؤمنین والمؤمنات.
Colophon: :(folio 96b) کتبه الفقیر الحقیر محمد البسنوی المحتاج المغفرت الغفران فی سراي غلطه في اواخر ذي القعده سنه خمس و سبعین و نسعامآیه سنه ۹۷۵
Colophon: Completed by Muḥammad al-Busnavī at the end of Ẕī-l-Qa‘dah 975 AH (early June 1568 CE).
Language(s): Persian

The manuscript features a variant ending in comparison to the published editions. 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, but it was only available by subscription. Sorabji Fardunji Mulla published the first publicly available English translation in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1899.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: This, sized, and highly-polished ivory-coloured handmade paper manufactured in the Islamic world.
Extent: 98 folios (ff. i + 98 + i)
Dimensions (leaf): 191 × 125 mm.
Dimensions (written): 114 × 65 mm.

Foliated in pencilled Arabic numberal at the top-right of the a sides by the cataloguer.

Note that the bookbinder who restored the volume inadvertantly inverted folios 30 to 50 hence they appear upside-down.


Catchwords on b side of nearly every folio.


In good condition, but very tightly-bound in the gutter. The boards and flap want to spring shut. The flyleaves are tipped to the first and last folios.


Written in a single column with 13 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in clear nasta'liq script in black ink with subheaders in red.

Inscriptions: Extensive marginalia throughout in both Persian and Ottoman Turkish, written in at least two Ottoman-style nasta'liq (ta‘līḳ) hands in black ink with subheaders marked in red.
Bookplates: The left paste-down, ‘'Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘21/k’ and ‘Bland MSS No. 526’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘306’ written aside.


Bound in an Ottoman-style, full, tight-backed, highly-polished dark brown goatskin leather with a flap (type II binding per Déroche). Spine later rebacked and fore-edge flap reattached with dark brown goatskin leather, with naturally-coloured sheepskin leather added to line the interior of the latter.

Blind stamped with a scalloped central mandorla medallion with floral scrollwork in centres of the boards, and a similarly-decorated smaller medallion on the flap. Thick-and-thin fillet marginal lines on the perimeters of the boards. Endpapers of modern mould-made laid paper added when restored.

192 × 130 × 15 mm.


Folio 1a bears a small oval seal, intaglio engraved with the name of Muṣṭafá, possibly dated '20' (perhaps 1120 AH) surrounded by a single rule line, impressed in black ink.
7 × 8.5 mm.


Origin: Location not indicated, but probably completed in Ottoman empire; End of Zī'l Qa‘dah 975 AH (early June 1568 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Prior owners named Muṣṭafá, as per his signature and seal impression 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

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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