Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 320 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts

Contents

Summary of Contents: An abridged selection of biogrpahical notices of various nobles and statesmen culled from the Khizānah-ʼi ʻĀmirah (Royal Treasury), originally completed by the author, Ghulām ʻAlī ibn Nūḥ Āzād Bilgrāmī (1704–1786) in 1176 AH (1762–63 CE). He completed it in Aurangabad, then the capital of the Hyderabad State very shortly after his close friend and patron, Niẓām al-Mulk ‘Alī Khān Āṣaf Jāh II (r. 1762–1803), ascended the throne. A major Indian poet and author of several historical and biographical works, in this he relates the lives of some 135 Persian poets and recounts the Āsaf Jahi dynasty up to his patron and describes other elites, as well as the reigns of Aḥmad Shāh Durranī (r. 1747–1772) and the Maratha empire. Since he lived during many of these events and also relates vivid eyewitness accounts, historians deemed this work a reliable reference on 18th-century South Asia.
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): آصف جاه غفران پناه جد مادری او ابو سعد الله خان وزیر اعظم صاحب قران ثانی پادشاه جهان است
Explicit: برگ ۷۹پ (folio 79b): خزانه و غله را هر قدر که توانستند فرستادند
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

Note that the variant title for this abridgement, Khizānah-'i Umarā’, does not appear to be given in the text itself. For another copy of the full work, see Persian MS 925. The former owner of the mansucript, scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865) describes the work in his groundbreaking essay on biographies of Persian poets published in 1848, and Naval Kishore Press published the earliest lithographed critical edition in 1287 AH (1871 CE). For a complete description see Sachau and Ethé's Bodleian Library catalogue, no. 381.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock comprised of stiff, ivory-coloured handmade paper likely manufactured in India.
Extent: 79 folios (ff. ii + 79 + i)
Dimensions (leaf): 230 × 130 mm.
Dimensions (written): 188 × 78 mm.
Foliation: Foliation in pencilled in Arabic numerals the upper-left corners of the a sides.

Collation

10IV(80).Catchwords on the b sides throughout

Condition

Good condition.

Layout

Written in 1 column with 15 lines per page throughout, but seemingly unruled.

Hand(s)

Copied in a nasta’liq hand in black ink with dates, poetic forms, and names of entrants in red.

Additions: Inscriptions:
  • Inscribed by William Francklin (1763–1839) on right pastedown: ‘Khazannah Amrah or Memoirs of the Nobility of Hindostan. W. Francklin - [17]95’.
  • Adjacent inscription on the right pastedown, apparently in the hand of subsequent owner Adam Clarke (ca. 1762–1832) at top: ‘no. 3 p.p.x 449’ and again underneath Francklin's inscription: ‘Composed by Meer Golam Ali Azâd’ in sepia ink, and again with the title of the work pencilled in Persian with the English translation of it ‘The Imperial Treasury’.
  • Left fly-leaf inscribed with pencilled numbers ‘1936’, ‘414’, and ‘no 221’, the last crossed out.
Bookplates and catalogue entry:
  • Left fly-leaf: pasted catalogue entry from the library sale of Methodist theologian Adam Clarke, (ca. 1762–1832) by London booksellers [William] Baynes and Son in 1836: ‘214 Khizanehi Aamirah - The Imperial Treasury; 8vo, pp. 120, -18s. Memoirs of the Nobility of Hindoostan, composed by Meer Gholaum Aly Azad.’
  • Left paste-down ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘1/H’, ‘Bland MSS No. 540’.

Binding

Sewn on three supports laced into the pasteboards. Bound in European-style, tight-backed in full brown goatskin leather over pasteboards, with three raised bands in India. Paper spine label bears the title written in Persian.

Board perimeters and either side of the raised bands ruled with double lines in white

231 × 137 × 20 mm.

Handle with caution. In fair condition, but tight opening, with the spine cracking, and paper label darkened and embrittled.

History

Origin: Probably Calcutta (Kolkata); before 1795 CE, based on the dated inscription of William Francklin (1763–1839), perhaps commissioned by him from a stationer-copyist.

Provenance and Acquisition

Acquired (or perhaps commissioned) in 1795 by William Francklin (1763–1839), an early member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland who spent over four decades serving in the British East India Company, who then later retired and died in India, as per his inscription on the right pastedown.

Later acquired by Methodist theologian Adam Clarke (ca. 1762–1832), on whose death it was inherited by his son Joseph Butterworth Bulmer Clarke, (ca. 1797–1854), who published it in his catalogue (p. 197 no. 221), who then sold it to London booksellers [William] Baynes and Son in 1836, whom listed it in their catalogue (p. 17, no. 214).

Purchased by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), after whose death London antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).

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 completed by James White in 2017.

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

Availability

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader, see Becoming a Reader for details. Please contact uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)

Bibliography

    A.S. Bazmee Ansari, “Āzād Bilgrāmī”, in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition (Online), (2012).
    [William] Baynes and Son, A List of Manuscripts, English, Irish, French, Icelandic, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Armenian, Singalese, Pali, and Sanscreet ... Formerly in the Possession of the Late Dr. Adam Clarke ; on Sale at the Affixed Prices, by Baynes and Son. (Leeds: Spink, 1836), p. 17, no. 214.
    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.
    J. B. B. Clarke, A historical and descriptive catalogue of the European and Asiatic manuscripts in the library of the late Dr. Adam Clarke, F.S.A., M.R.I.A. (London: J. Murrary, 1835), p. 197, no. 212.
    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 and The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Foundation


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