Persian MS 308 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)
A disruption in the text occurs between 323 to 324, since the catchword at the bottom of the former does not match the beginning of the latter. The missing pages must have included one with a subheader indicating the start of Chapter 10. Page 323 concludes with poems by Muḥsin Qazvīnī, mentioned towards the end of Chapter 9 in another incomplete volume of the work (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Sprenger 318, see Sprenger and Pertsch catalogues), but then omits entries for Ibn Aḥmad Badrī Ghaznavī and Bihrūz Ṭa'irī at the end of the chapter as related in the other manuscript. Page 324 commences with lines by an unidentified poet, followed by Abū Naṣr Aḥmad bin Ibrāhīm al-Ṭāliqānī (omitted in Sprenger 318), then Amīr al-Shu‘arā’ Abū Abdullāh Muḥammad bin ‘Abd al-Malik Mu‘izzī, followed by Ḥakīm Sharaf al-Zamān Abū al-Maḥāsin Azraqī Haravī (fl. 11th c.) on page 336, the order of which comports with the other manuscript, so this volume does contains most of Chapter 10. Former owner John Bardoe Elliott (1785–1863) describes the rarity and value of this manuscript in his notes on the flyleaves. He then gave it to scholar Nathaniel Bland, who references this volume and provides a detailed overview of the work and its importance in his seminal essay, while E. G. Browne and M. Qazvini published a critical edition of the work based upon this manuscript in 1903–06.
Paginated in Arabic numerals, omitting pages 0 to 1 (f. 1a–b) then starting on page 2 then on every other page on the upper-left corners of the attached margins, only repeating page 511 three times, so off by 3.
Written in 1 to 2 columns with 19 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.
Written in nasta'liq script in black, with some chapter titles, names of poets, and Arabic text in red.
Pages 274 to 287, 324 to 325, and 398 to 413 copied in a second, comparatively thin and angular nasta'liq hand.
Illuminated headpiece on page 1.
- Table of Contents: listed on the first through fourth right flyleaves (ff. ia–iva) (commencing with the fourth), in the hand of former owner John Bardoe Elliott.
- Marginalia: Marginalia in the hands of the two scribes and a third hand on almost every page.
- The left flyleaf a side (f.ia) signed ‘J.B. Elliott’ at the conclusion of his table of contents.
- Page 619: ‘Read at Patna June 1825 J.B.E.’
- The the final right flyleaf b side (f.ixb) bears another description signed ‘J.B. Elliott’.
- Bookplates: Left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelf mark 2/G, ‘Bland MSS No. 528’, and ‘J. B. Elliott, Fortiter et Recte’.
Probably restored, remargined, and rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in India in the early nineteenth century. Single-flexible resewing on four raised cords, edges trimmed, with twined chevron endbands worked in red silk and silver threads. Recovered in full red goatskin leather, without a flap (type III binding per Déroche). Endpapers bear a Britannia watermark on the left paste-down, and countermarked ‘Ruse and Turners 1818’ then owned and operated by partners Joseph Ruse, Richard Turner, and Thomas Turner at the Upper Tovil Mill, Maidstone, Kent
Boards blocked with a scalloped central mandorlas, detached pendants, and corners in blind.
260 × 149 × 50 mm.
Binding in good condition, although the spine appears concave, resulting from extensive use.
Notes on ivoury-coloured European laid paper inserted between pages 239–240, then blue laid paper between 457 and 458 and 555 and 556, possibly in the hand of Bland or Browne.
Provenance and Acquisition
Acquired by East India Company magistrate John Bardoe Elliott (1785–1863) who primarily lived in Patna where he retired and passed away. Apparently one of two volumes that he sent before 1847 to the scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865), as reported in his essay.
After Bland's 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.
Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish in 1898.
Revised and expanded by James White with reference to the manuscript 2017.
Manuscript description subsequently amended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the volume in hand.
Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)
Funding of Cataloguing
Iran Heritage Foundation, the John Rylands Research, and the Soudavar Foundation