Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 323 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This composite manuscript contains three (taẕkīrah) literary chroncicles in Persian and Urdu. The scribe Shaykh ʿAbd al-Karīm completed the first text, Ikhlāṣ Chand's Hamīshah Bahār (Eternal Spring), in 1136. The volume also contains Ḥazīn's Taz̲kirah-'i Muʿāṣirīn (Chroncile of Contemporaries), and Qā'im's Makhzan-i Nikāt (Treasury of Witticisms).
Folios 1a–129a
Language(s): Persian

Former owner Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865) briefly describes the first and second works in his groundbreaking essay on biographies of Persian poets published in 1848; however, he states that he only consulted a later copy of the second work but not this volume.

Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): رب تمام بالکرمك. سپاس و ستایش خدای را جل و جلاله که آثار قدرت او بر چهرهٔ روز روشن تابانست.
Explicit: برگ ۱۸۶پ (folio 186b): نسخه همیشه بهار من تصنیف لاله صاحب مشقق مهربان لاله کشچند حبو اخلاص تخلص سلمه الله تعالی نا آید الآباد بتاریخ شیشم روز چهار شنبه ربیع الثانی سنه ۶۴ محمد شاهی وقت ظهر در دار الخلافه شاهجهان‌آباد مطابق سنه ۱۲۵۴. هر که خواند دعا طمع دارم * را نگه من بنده کنه کارم
Colophon: برگ ۱۸۶پ (folio 186b): .تمت تمام شد بیخط[؟] بی ربط شیخ عبد الکریم بتاریخ سیم صفر سنه ۱۲۲۵ هجری
Colophon: First text completed 3 Ṣafar 1225 (10 Aug. 1810)
Folios 201a–262b

Incomplete. About three quarters of the work up to Qiyām al-Dīn ʿAlī Qā’im.

Language(s): Urdu

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Very thin wove paper manufactured in Europe, with an illegible embossed mill or stationer's mark on the second right flyleaf.
Extent: 264 folios (ff. ii + 264) Note that the binder hinged the final quire of the textblock to the pastedown, so while the volume ends with a blank page, it technically lacks any right flyleaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 200 × 155 mm.
Dimensions (written): 148 × 92 mm.
Foliation: Modern foliation in Hindu-Arabic numerals at the upper right corners in pencil.


Quaternions throughout, 33IV(264). Catchwords on the b sides throughout most of the volume; however, the third title lacks many.


Good condition.


1 column, 13 lines per page.


Copied in black ink in a nasta’liq hand by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Karīm شيخ عبد الكريم . Red ink used to mark names of poets and poetic forms.

Table of contents on folios126a–129a in another hand.

Arabic passages, e.g. on folios138a–140a written in naskh by the same scribe who copied the rest of the text.

Additions: Bookplates: left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/J’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 543’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘323’ written aside.


Unsupported sewing at two stations, with twined chevron headbands. Bound in a hybrid British-Indian style, tight-backed in full smooth red goatskin leather over pasteboards, in a type III binding (without flap as per Déroche), squares along the edges, defined joints, and one trimmmed headcap present at tail, with the upper one now missing. A bifolium tipped onto the right side of the textblock provides the first flyleaves, with the excess width adhered as a hinge over top.

Boards decorated with stamped paper onlay scalloped central mandorlas and corners, with detached pendants featuring large floral scrollwork designs, joined by a criss-crossed single ruled line in yellow, and bounded by the same around the perimeters of the boards.. Paper label on the spine, now faded. Titles of the three texts are inscribed directly on the spine in black ink.

212 × 166 × 35 mm.

Fair condition. Exterior binding abraded. White pigment, probably lead, appears to be shifting gray.


Origin: Probably India; completed by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Karīm on 3 Ṣafar 1225 AH (10 March 1810 CE), as per the colophon on folio 129a).

Provenance and Acquisition

Later acquired 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.

Revised and expanded by James White in 2018 with reference to the manuscript in hand.

Further amended 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)


    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), pp. 169–170, no. 1.

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.