Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 328 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This undated poetic anthology entitled Taz̲kirat al-Shuʻarā' (Chronicles of Poets) encompasses lines by 292 poets arranged thematically by subject (ma'nī), including examples by its compiler, Bandah ‘Alī Khān (ca. 1704–1784 or 1785), pen named Bāsiṭī. Born into a prominent family in Shāhjahānābād (Delhi), the author attended the court of the Mughal ruler Emperor Muḥammad Shāh (b. 1702, r. 1719–1748), whom awarded him the title Shīr Afgan Khān (Tiger-seizer) previously held by his grandfather. He initially studied poetry under Muḥammad Afz̤alal-Dīn S̱ābit Allāhābādī, during which time he employed the nom-de-plume Sabqat, but after he moved to Awadh (Oude) in 1160 AH (1748 CE) he continued with ‘Abd al-Bāsiṭ, from whom he ultimately derived his pen name. According to several accounts, when he visited the preeminent poet Muḥammad ʻAlī Ḥazīn in Benares (Varanasi) to ask for a critique of his dīvān, Hazīn replied that he should ‘wash all of its pages from start to finish’ and urged him to only write quatrains, advice that he thereafter followed. He ultimately passed away in Lucknow in 1199 AH (1784–85 CE). The colophon of this neatly copied and illuminated manuscript indicates that a scribe completed it for the author, hence it must date to Bāsiṭī's lifetime.
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): حمد و سپاس مرآن واجب الوجودی را که قلم دو زبان از تحریر اوصاف باکمالش حیران و سرگردان و هزاران هزار تحیت و صلوات آن در دریا رسالت تاجدار مرکز طریقت اختر برج نبوت که هر درج فتوت احمد مجتبی محمد مصطفی صلی الله علیه و سلم
Explicit: برگ ۱۴۸ر (folio 148a): گر از لباس بریی نمی‌شناسندت * همی کرده که یکرنگ می‌تمایدت
Colophon: برگ ۱۴۸ر (folio 148a): تمت تمام شد تذکره لمولفه باسطی، نوشته بماند سیه بر سفید * نوسینده را نیست فردا امید
Colophon: The colophon states that the scribe ‘...completed for its author Bāsiṭī’.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Straight-grained ivory-coloured handmade paper, with ~1.5 mm between laid lines and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 148 folios (ff. ix + 148 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 215 × 145 mm.
Dimensions (written): 150 × 85 mm.

Pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners inscribed when catalogued.


Catchwords on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle with care. Moderate insect and water damage.


Folios 2b to 8b written in an oblique (chalīpā) layout, with each panel containing two distichs written in four diagonal lines, followed by two additional distichs in the left margins, which with the headers comprise 12 lines per page. Folios 9a to 148b thereafter written in two columns with 9 lines per page, with the names of the poets and themes written in red within a narrow column between them. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in a neat nasta'liq hand in black, with chapter headings and names of poets in red.


Illuminated headpiece and gilt floral marginal decoration on the first page opening on folios 1b to 2a.

Some central text areas stencilled and tinted in either pale yellow or pink.

Table of Contents: The third to ninth right flyleaves a sides (ff. iiia– ixa) lists the names of poets within the volume.
  • On the first right flyleaf a side, various pencilled notes by prior owners and booksellers with prices and identifiers: ‘S.2657’; ‘4452’; ‘£3.3’; ‘5/27’; ‘6/6/0’; ‘1.11.6’.
  • On the ninth right flyleaf b side No. 15. Elegant Extracts, and the same number repeated again on 1a in the same hand. While unsigned, both closely comport with other similar inscriptions by Sir Gore Ouseley.
  • ‘Rs’, and ‘Taẕkīrat al-Shu‘arā written in nasta'liq script.’
Bookplates and Catalogue Entry:
  • Right pastedown: pasted catalogue entry of booksellers Howell and Stewart: 197 Tezkireh as Shoara, Elegant Extracts from a numerous list of Ancient and Modern Persian Authors, Persian, very neatly written on variously tinted paper, 4to, in the original embossed gilt Persian binding, 3l. 3s. This volume is rarely to be met with in this country, and highly esteemed in the East.
  • Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ shelf mark ‘F/10’and ‘Bland MSS No. 548’.


Sewn at two stations, probably unsupoorted, with twined Islamic-style endbands in green and white silk. Covered in a hemmed binding without a flap (type III binding per Déroche).

Boards faced with pasteboard blocked in gold leaf featuring floral and figural arabesque designs, with the leather hemming along the board perimeters ruled with wide and narrow lines in gold.

219 × 149 × 23 mm.

Handle with caution. While the cover appears in good condition, the sewing of the initial gatherings seems loose.


Origin: Probably Lucknow; undated but completed for the author before his death in 1199 AH (1784–85 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

While a prior record suggested that British surgeon Samuel Guise, London law clerk Samuel Hawtayne Lewin (1795–1840), and Manchester librarian John Haddon Hindley (1765-1827), this volume neither contains any inscriptions in their hands, nor Hindley's bookplate, nor is it listed in their associated sale catalogues. Instead, unsigned inscriptions on the eighth right flyleaf b side and folio 1a comport with others by Sir Gore Ousleey (1770–1844). The earliest reference to the volume appears in the 1827 catalogues of antiquarian booksellers Howell and Stewart, offered for the price of £3 3s.

Subsequently acquired by English politician John Wilks (1776–1854), who sold his collection through the London firm of S. Leigh Sotheby & Co. on 12 to 23 Mar. 1847, where antiquarian dealer George Henry Bohn (1796–1884) purchased it for £1 1s.

Apparently purchased from Bohn by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865), after whose death, London antiquarian dealer 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 concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish in 1898; however, he did not identify the work.

Manuscript correctly identified and described by James White with reference to the volume in 2017.

Record subsequently, corrected, augmented, and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the volume in hand, and in consultation with Ursula Sims-Williams, British Library, regarding the provenance and Prof Hajnalka Kovacs, Harvard University, who provided references to the author.


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)


    Ḥusayn Quli Khān ‘Aẓīmābādī, Taẕkīrah-yi Nishtar-i ‘Ishq, Vol. 1. Edited by Sayyid Kamāl Hājj Sayyid Javādī (Tehran: Mīrās̱-i Maktūb, 1391 SH [2012–13 CE]), pp. 275–276.
    Howell and Stewart, A supplement to Howell and Stewart’s Catalogue of Oriental and Oriento-Biblical Literature for 1827 (London, J. Moyes, 1827), p. 104, no. 4452.
    Abhishek Kaicker, The King and the People: Sovereignty and Popular Politics in Mughal Delhi (Oxford: Oxford Scholarship Online, 2020 pp. 301–302.
    Sarfarāz Khān Khatak, Shaikh Muḥammad'Alī Ḥazīn: His Life, Times and Works (Lahore: Muhammad Ashraf, 1944), pp. 69–70.
    Ghulām Hamadānī Muṣḥafī, ‘Iqd-i S̱urayyā, 2nd ed. of a facsimile edition of a manuscript copied by Mawlavī Khasatah (Kabul: Ākādamī-yi ‘Ulūm-i Afghānistān Markaz-i Zabān va Adabīyāt Idārah-'i Majallah Khurasān, 1372 SH [1993–94 CE]), pp. 17–18.
    S. Leigh Sotheby & Co., Catalogue of the valuable library of an eminent collector [John Wilks]... March 12th, 1847, and ten following days. ([London], Compton & Ritchie, 1847), no. 2657.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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