Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 326 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An undated Nigāristān (Picture Gallery) composed by Kemalpaşazade, (1468–1534), also known as Ibn Kemāl, in 939 AH (1532–33 CE), about a year before his death. It features both prose and poetry that emulates the Gulistān (Rose-garden) of Sa'dī, as well as elements of the Bahāristān of Jāmī. It contains a preface, followed by eight chapters on the topics of kingship, morals, contentment, silence, love in youth, weakness in old age, the effects of education, and lastly, a compilation of proverbs on related topics, all interspersed with stories concerning historical figures. While undated, the physical features of this volume suggest it could be a fairly early 16th-century copy, which seems to contain variant lines in comparison to other volumes.
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): منّتهای بی‌منتها، خدای بي‌همتا را عزّ و جلّ كه در تشييد بنای حكمش عجـل اسـت و نه در تنفيذ قضای حكمش و جلّ...
Explicit: برگ ۲۳۲پ (folios 232b): ســود نه زهــد را ز دلــق كبــود * آنكـه حـق را بخرقـه يافـت كـه بـود.
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Comprised of medium-weight, cross-grained, butter-coloured paper, possibly manufactured in Egypt, then part of the Ottoman empire, with ~9 laid lines per cm, with clusters of three chain lines 16mm apart that alternate with single lines ~32 mm apart. Note that 233 to 238, what seem like the left flyleaves comprise the conjugate folios of the same stock as the volume, hence sewn together with the text block and counted here as blank folios.
Extent: 238 folios, 2 flyleaves, (ff. ii + 238).
Dimensions (leaf): 180 × 128 mm.
Dimensions (written): 128 × 72 mm.
Foliation: Foliation pencilled at top-left of the a sides in Arabic numerals when catalogued.


Primarily quinternions throughout 23V(230)1IV(238). Catchwords throughout on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle with caution. In fair condition, with water and mould damage throughout, and moderate insect damage along the fore-edge and gutters between folios 89 to 210. Dog-eared corners and worn edges at the beginning.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 17 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in an Ottoman-style nasta‘līq hand in black with subheaders in both dark and bright red The latter exhibits colour shifting and darkening in several areas, hence probably comprised of minium.

  • The top of the first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title written twice in two different hands, the second instance written in a clear nasta‘līq hand, followed by the name of the author with posthumous honorifics written in Ottoman Turkish, underneath which appears a signature of a former owner named Hajjī ‘Abd Allāh.
  • The top-right of the second right flyleaf a side (f. iia) bears a partly-legible signature of a former owner named Na‘lzādah Aḥmad Āğā and the number ‘‘adad 25’.
  • The title appears on folio 1a and also on the tail edge of the text-block.
  • Folios 237 and 238b inscribed ‘Sy 317’, the latter written over the number ‘311’, both from the library of former owner Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy.
  • The left doublure bears the ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ bookplate with the shelfmark ‘2/K’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 546’.
  • The right doublure bears ‘M. Silverstre de Sacy’ bookplate, with the number ‘317’ inscribed in ink, and a faint pencilled number ‘311’ at top.


Probable 16th-century Ottoman-style binding, with unsupported sewing at two stations with dark blue-green thread, probably dyed with indigo, and with chevron endbands twined in white and tarnished silver threads at head and tail. Covered in full, highly-polished, dark brown goatskin leather over pasteboards, with a flap (Type II binding per Déroche), and internal doublures of maroon goatskin leather. Later right flyleaves of European cross-grained endpapers with ~9mm per cm between laid lines and and 32mm between chain lines, with the first right flyleaf (f. ia) watermarked anchor entwined with a ribbon and terminating in a squared trefoil that measures 78 × 35 mm. , evidently added before the volume arrived in Europe, given the Ottoman Turkish inscriptions upon them. Comparatively dark goatskin leather with a pronounced grain applied to the spine, head and tail of the flap, and the head edge of the right board to restore the volume, and internal paper hinges added to reattach the boards to the textblock.

Both boards originally blocked in blind with recessed central scalloped mandorlas that feature a floral scrollwork design comprised of small lotus blossoms (ẖaṭā'ī) and serrated sāz leaves, with a smaller version with similar features by the point of the envelope flap. Boards and flap margins also blind-tooled with a fine, single-line rope design and think-and-thin fillets on either side, the latter also impressed at an 45º angle at the corners. Later titling on the rebacked spine ‘NIGARISTAN KEMAL PASHA’ in gold.

181 × 138 × 42 mm.

In poor condition. Handle with caution. Folios 152 to 159 loose and protruding due to broken sewing. Board edges and corners exposed, with the flap joints breaking. Endband at head deteriorating and unstable. Boxed.

Accompanying Material

Torn strips of papers bearing Ottoman Turkish notes inserted between folios 56b and 57a and 150b and 151a.


Origin: Probably Ottoman empire, undated, but probably 16th-century, judging from both the hand and type of paper.

Provenance and Acquisition

Inscribed by former Ottoman owners Hajjī ‘Abd Allāh and Na‘lzādah Aḥmad Āğā on a sides of the first and second right flyleaves a side (f. ia–iia).

Subsequently acquired by orientalist scholar Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy, (1758–1838), after whose death, his oriental manuscripts were sold in Paris in 1842, (see Bibliothèque, Vol. III, Appendix, no. 217), where scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) purchased it.

After Bland's 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, concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the volume in hand.


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.


    M. Çiçekler, 'Kemal Paşazade ve Nigâristan’ı.' PhD Dissertation, İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1994.
    R. Merlin and G. de la Grange, Bibliothèque de M. le Baron Silvestre de Sacy, Vol. III, [Appendice] 'Manuscrits' (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1842), p. 54, no. 317.
    M. U. İnan, 'Imperial Ambitions, Mystical Aspirations: Persian Learning in the Ottoman World'. In N. Green (Ed.), The Persianate World: The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca. Edited by Nile Green (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2019), pp. 75–92.
    Aḥmad Riz̤ā Yalmahʹhā, 'Nigāhī bih Nigāristān-i Ibn Kamāl Pāshā, As̱rī Nāshinākhtah bih Taqlīd az Gulistān-i Sa‘dī', Faṣalnāmah-i ʻIlmī-i Pizhūhishī Zabān va Adab-i Fārsī Dānishgah-i Āzad-i Islāmī Vāḥid Sanandaj No. 8 (Autumn, (1390 SH [2011 CE]): pp. 155–168.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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