Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 327 (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 volume bears two seal impressions of the Ottoman ruler Sultan Selim II (b. 1524, r. 1566–1574).
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, ivory-coloured paper, probably handmade in European albeit no watermarks evident, with ~10 laid lines per cm, and chain lines ~31 mm apart. Note that what appears to be the right flyleaf actually comprises a blank folio conjugate to the final section, hence sewn together with the text block.
Extent: 242 Folios, 1 flyleaf (ff. i + 242).
Dimensions (leaf): 188 × 125 mm.
Dimensions (written): 118 × 69 mm.
Foliation: Foliation pencilled at top-left of the a sides in Arabic numerals when catalogued.


Primarily quinternions throughout 24V(240)1I(242). Catchwords throughout on the lower-left corners of the b sides..


In good condition, with occasional stains.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in an Ottoman-style nasta‘līq hand in black with subheaders in bright red and russet. The same hand also apparently copied many marginal notes as well.


Illumination: Folio 1b bears a scalloped domed headpiece with gilt palmette foliate scrollwork on an ultramarine ground and an uninscribed central cartouche, and four vertical radiating lines.

Ruling: Folios 1b and 2a ruled in gold outlined with thin black lines, and surrounded by another single line. The margins of folios 2b onwards ruled with single lines of ultramarine blue.

Inscriptions: Bookplates: Folio 242b bears the ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ bookplate with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/K’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 547’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘327’ written aside.


Probable 16th-century Ottoman-style binding, with unsupported sewing at two stations, with chevron endbands twined in red and white silkthreads at head and tail. Covered in two pieces of highly-polished, medium brown goatskin leather over pasteboards that overlap on the spine, with a flap (Type II binding per Déroche), and internal doublures of maroon goatskin leather. Evidence of subsequent board reattachment in the joints with a black leather applied as a spine lining then put down underneath the lifted doublures, which resulted in tide-line stains.

Both boards originally blocked in gold with recessed central scalloped mandorlas that feature a floral scrollwork palemettes and quatrefoils, and a smaller version with similar features surrounding a central lotus by the point of the envelope flap. Boards and flap margins also gold-tooled with a fine, single-line rope design and think-and-thin blind fillets on either side, the latter also impressed at an 45º angle at the corners, with inner border of a single fillet line in gold. The fore-edge flap exterior divided into two panels with a single central band of, while the doublures bear similar tooling, minus the angled corners, and the spine lacks decoration,.

189 × 135 × 40 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, with the textblock split between folios 8b to 9a albeit with sewing intact; however, thereafter broken between folios 152 to 159 and 230 to 242, which now protrude. Board surfaces scuffed and scratched, edges and corners exposed, and flap joints breaking. Tailband and cap abraded. Boxed.

Two pointed oval intaglio-carved seal impressions in black bearing the tuğra emblem of Ottoman ruler Sultan Selim II (b. 1524, r. 1566–1574) on folios 1a and 240b. Note that they vary slightly from another found in Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi Ayasofya 2830 f. 229a, published online.

‘ سليم بن سليمان شاه خان المظفر دائما ’ 13 × 19 mm.


Origin: Probably Istanbul, undated, but completed before 1574, based upon Sultan Selim II's seal impressions.

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by Ottoman ruler Sultan Selim II (b. 1524, r. 1566–1574), as per his seal impressions on folios 1a and 240b. Günay Kut and Nimet Bayraktar published the same seal impression fromİstanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Esad Efendi 2317, folio 213b, and also note the inventory of manuscripts held in the library that the Sultan founded in his mosque complex in Edirne (Edirne Selimiye, 4753).

Subsequently 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, 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.
    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.
    Günay Kut and Nimet Bayraktar, Yazma eserlerde vakıf mühürleri, 2nd rev. ed. (İstanbul: ürkiye Yazma Eserler Kurumu Başkanlığı, 2021), pp. 48–49, no. 9.
    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.
    Türkiye Yazma Eserler Kurumu Başkanlığı, Mühür Veribatanı, no. YEKMU0726.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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