Persian MS 319 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)
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 see Sachau and Ethé's Bodleian Library catalogue, no. 381.
Textblock comprised of sized and polished, cross-grained, cream-coloured paper handmade in India.
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.
- Left pastedown, ‘'Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘21/k’ and ‘Bland MSS No. 526’.
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.
Provenance and Acquisition
Probably acquired in India 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.
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.
Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)
Funding of Cataloguing
Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute
The Soudavar Foundation