Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 307 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This Dīvān of Saʻdī, contains nine books of qaṣāyid (panegyric odes), tayyibāt (pleasantries), badāyi‘ (cunning innovations), khavātim (signets), ghazaliyāt (lyric poems), ṣāḥibiyah (companionship), prose khabīs̱āt (impunities) which includes three satirical homilies, and lastly, rubā‘īyāt (quatrains). Two further collections of the author's marās̱ī (elegies) and tarjī‘āt (stanzaic poems) appear written in the margins of folios 1b to 24b. A scribe named Ya‘qūb completed this volume in 993 AH (1585 CE) on behalf of a patron named Ghiyās̱ al-Dīn Muḥammad bin Khvājah Aḥmad, but the colophon omits a precise location. The commercial style and illuminated headers suggests it may possibly be from Safavid Shiraz; however, the lavish binding features gilt recessed onlays and extensive gilt painted decoration likely dates to the 18th century.
Scribe: Ya‘qūb
Patron: Ghīyās̱ al-Dīn Muḥammad bin Khvajah Aḥmad
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): ل شکسته که مرهم نهد دگربارش * یتیم خسته که از پای برکند خارش⟨د⟩ در حاشیه: کتاب مراثی
Explicit: برگ ٣٣٠ر (folio 330a): الهی عاقبت محمود گردان * بحق صالحان و نیک مردان.
Colophon: برگ ٣٣٠ر (folio 330a): تمة الدیوان من کلام ملک العلما و القضلاء املخ الشعراء قدوة المحققین في عهده و زبده العارفین فی عصر مشرف الدین مصلح الدین شیخ سعدی شرازی رحمت الله علیه کاتبع فقیر یعقوب ٩٩٦ صاحبته و مالکه غیاث الدین محمد بن خواجه احمد .
Colophon: Completed by the scribe Ya‘qūb on behalf of a patron named Ghīyās̱ al-Dīn Muḥammad bin Khvajah Aḥmad in 994 AH (1585–86 CE)
Language(s): Persian
Title: Qaṣāyid (Panegyric Odes)
Title: قصاید
1b to 24a (margins)
Title: Marās̱ī (Elegies)
Title: مراثی

Written in the outer margins.

16a to 24a (margins)
Title: Tarjī‘āt (Stanzaic Poems)
Title: ترجیعات
Title: Ṭayyibāt (Pleasantries)
Title: طیبات
Title: Badāyi‘ (Cunning Innovations)
Title: بدایع
Title: Khavātim (Signets)
Title: خواتم
Title: Ghazaliyāt (Lyric Poems)
Title: غزلیات
Title: Ṣāḥibiyāt (Companionship)
Title: صاحبیات
Title: Khabīs̱āt (Prose Impunities)
Title: خبیثات

This collection also includes three prose majālis, satirical homilies.

Title: Majlis al-Avvāl
Title: مجلس الاول
Title: Majlis al-S̱ānī
Title: مجلس الثاني
Title: Majlis al-S̱ālis̱
Title: مجلس الثالث
Title: Rubā‘īyāt (Quatrains)
Title: رباعیات

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of thin-weight, cross-grained, flocked, buff-coloured externally sized and polished paper probably handmade in Greater Iran, with ~9 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 331 folios, 6 flyleaves (ff. iv + 331 + ii) .
Dimensions (leaf): 276 × 163 mm.
Dimensions (written): 173 × 95 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides when catalogued, with folios 162a and 162Aa duplicated, hence off thereafter by one.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout on the lower left corners of the b sides throughout.


hand with caution. In fair condition, with insect damage, stains, and historical repairs throughout.


Written in 2 central columns with couplets in 14 to 15 lines, and 22 to 26 hemistichs in the surrounding margins, hence 36 to 41 lines total. ‌The layout resembles works with diagonally-written marginal commentaries; however, in this case, one book appears in the centres of the pages with the marās̱ī (elegies) written in the surrounding margins. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written primarly in black nasta‘līq with subheaders in red.

  • Both the right and left doublure bear lines of Persian poetry and other inscriptions in a various hands.
  • The second right flyleaf a side (f. iia) bears the number ‘4428’, which corresponds to Howell & Stewart's second catalogue entry.
  • The second right flyleaf b side (f. iib) lists the contents in pencilled Persian but only indicates the location for the first two.
  • Folio 1a bears a price of ‘80 Rs’ (80 rupees) at top, followed by ‘Nº 41’ and English title and description of the work, likely in the hand of former owner Sir Gore Ouseley, albeit unsigned, which comports with his hand in other Rylands volumes.
Bookplates and Pasted Items:
  • The right doublure bears an octagonal bookseller's ticket ‘Howell & Stewart 295 Holborn,London, Successors to Ogle Duncan & Co.’
  • An entry from the 1827 catalogue of Howell & Stewart, numbered ‘168’
  • The final left flyleaf b side (f. viib): ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/E’, ‘Bland MSS No. 527’.


The binding probably dates to the 17th to 18th centuries; however, former owner Sir Gore Ouseley subsequently had the volume restored and rebacked in Britain.

Previously bound in a full maroon goatskin leather over pasteboards, with internal doublures painted black. Subsequently resewn upon three sawn-in cords, then laced into the original pasteboards. New made flyleaves of ivory-coloured wove and flocked greenish-gray paper added when restored. Edges ploughed, spattered in gray-blue, and polished, resulting in squares along the edges. European-style front-bead decorative endbands of yellow and black silk threads sewn over a flat core at head and tail. Spine recovered in tan calfskin leather, with internal hinges of the same added to the interiors.

Boards decorated with recessed scalloped central mandorlas, detached pendants, corners, and cartouches in the surrounding border.

290 × 180 × 48 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, with extensive abrasion and losses on the outside.


Origin: Completed by the scribe in Ya‘qūb on behalf of a patron named Ghīyās̱ al-Dīn Muḥammad bin Khvajah Aḥmad, probably in Greater Iran; 994 AH (1585–86 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by Sir Gore Ouseley (1770–1844) as per both his inscription on folio 1a and rebacking of the spine in a manner consistent with other volumes that he formerly owned.

Probably sold by Ouseley to London booksellers Howell & Stewart, who list the volume in their catalogues published in 1827.

Probably purchased from Howell & Stewart by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865), after whose death London bookseller 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 manuscript.


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.


    Howell and Stewart, A Supplement to Howell and Stewart's Catalogue of Oriental and Oriento-Biblical Literature for 1827 Including the Most Extensive and Valuable Collection of Eastern Manuscripts Ever Offered for Sale (London: Printed by J. Moyes, 1827) p. 101, no. 4428.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), p. 601 [BL Add. 25812].
    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. 239–540, no. 692 [Bodl. Ouseley 64].

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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