Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 319 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A complete copy of the Khizānah-ʼi ʻĀmirah (Royal Treasury), originally composed by Ghulām ʻAlī ibn Nūḥ Āzād Bilgrāmī (1704–1786) in 1176 AH (1762–63 CE) in Aurangabad, then capital of the Princely State of Hyderabad, shortly after his friend and patron Niẓām al-Mulk ‘Alī Khān Āṣaf Jāh II (b. 1734, r. 1762–1803) ascended the throne. A major poet and author of several historical and biographical accounts, in this work he relates the lives of some 135 Persian poets with selections of their oeuvre, recounts the history of the Āsaf Jahi dynasty up to his patron, and also covers the reigns of Aḥmad Shāh Durranī (b. 1722, r. 1747–1772) and the Maratha empire. Since he lived during many of these events and relates vivid eyewitness accounts, historians deem it a reliable source on 18th-century South Asia.
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): سر کلام راجعه حمد صانعیست که انسان را به گوهر گرانمایه ناطقه بنواخت.
Explicit: برگ ۲۶۷ر (folio 267a): سبحان ربك رب العزة عما يصفون وسلام على المرسلين والحمد لله رب العالمين.
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

Sir Alexander Malet (1800–1886) presented this volume to the Oriental Translation Committee of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. It seems that scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865) borrowed the volume to prepare his groundbreaking essay on biographies of Persian poets published in 1848, but then never returned it before his death. The text appears complete, albeit with variations when compared to the lithographed edition published by Naval Kishore Press in 1287 AH (1871 CE). For a complete description of the contents, see Sachau and Ethé's Bodleian Library catalogue, no. 381. For another complete copy, see Rylands Persian MS 925 and for and for an adridged redaction, see Persian MS 320.

Physical Description

Form: codex

Textblock comprised of sized and polished, cross-grained, cream-coloured paper handmade in India.

Extent: 267 folios 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 267 + i ).
Dimensions (leaf): 210 × 120 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160 × 82 mm.
Foliation: Incomplete modern foliation in pencilled Arabic numberals subsequently completed by the cataloguer. Note that foliation commences on the second folio of the text proper.


Undetermined. Catchwords on b side of nearly every folio.


In poor condition with insect damage mainly at the tail, and fore-edge embrittled, and a large tear on folio 253.


Written in 1 column, with 21 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Text copied in a small nasta'liq hand in black with occasional shikastah ligatures and finials, with subheaders in red.

  • Inscribed on the first folio obverse (f. iia) by former owner Sir Alexander Malet (1800–1886), second baronet, when he presented it to the Oriental Translation Committee of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland: ‘Presented to the Com. Oriental Translation by Sir A-Malet Bart’.
  • The right paste down inscribed with the number ‘20’.
  • The first right flyleaf obverse (f. ia) inscribed with the title of the work in both Persian and transliterated Latin characters.
  • Folios 72b, folio 134a, and folio 235b bear marginalia in nasta‘līq script in black.
Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘'Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘21/k’ and ‘Bland MSS No. 526’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘319’ written aside.


Sewn on three supports, probably on sawn-in cords. Originally bound in dark reddish-brown, highly polished full goatskin leather over pasteboards without a flap (type III binding as per Déroche). Later repairs to the spine and fore-edge in sheepskin leather. Yellow wove endpapers, the left one watermarked ‘J Whatman 1827, of the Whatman Paper Mill in Maidstone, Kent, then owned and operated by William Balston (1759–1849), probably added to the volume when restored.

stamped paper onlays with floral designs in the central mandorla, detached pendants, irises in the corners, framed by a flower garland on the border.

210 × 131 × 33 mm.

Handle with caution. In fair condition. Original boards abraded, with the corners bumped and exposed. Later sheepskin leatherrepairs now degraded. Paper spine label severely darkened and degraded.


Origin: Probably Northern India>; undated, but probably completed in the late eighteenth century. CE

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably acquired in the Indian subcontinent by British diplomat Sir Alexander Malet (1800–1886), second baronet, who presented it to the Oriental Translation Committee of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (see note on folio iia).

Evidently borrowed from the library by Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865), likely in preparation for his essay, but then never returned before his death. London antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) assumed it belonged to Bland (he added the Bland bookplates), when he sold the volume with the rest of that collection 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 in 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 completed by James White in 2017.

Physical description subsequently ammended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the volume.


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)


    Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland"Appendix, No. II. Oriental Translation Fund." in Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Vol. II, no. 1. (1829): p. xxxiv.
    A.S. Bazmee Ansari, “Āzād Bilgrāmī”, in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition (Online), (2012).
    Ghulām ʻAlī ibn Nūḥ Āzād Bilgrāmī, Khizānah-'i ʻĀmirah. Kānpūr: Munshī Naval Kishūr, 1287 AH (1871 CE).
    Nathaniel Bland, "On the earliest Persian Biography of Poets, by Muhammad Aúfi, and on some other Works of the class called Tazkirat ul Shuârá"Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. IX. (1848), p. 150, no. 1.
    Eduard Sachau and Hermann Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Vol I. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), no. 381.
    M. Siddiqui, “Āzād Belgrāmī”, in Encyclopædia Iranica Vol. 3, Fasc. 1. (1987): pp. 171–173.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


Comment on this record

Please fill out your details.

How are we using your feedback? See our privacy policy.

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.