Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 369 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A nearly complete, unillustrated volume of the Nafā'is al-Funūn fī ‘Arā'is al-‘Uyūn (Troves of the Arts in the Eyes of the Brides) by Ilkhanid-era author Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd Āmulī (d. ca. 1352). A famous encyclopedia describing one hundred and twenty different arts, the author modelled his work on another well-known medieval encyclopedia, Durrat al-Tāj (Pearl of the Crown) by Quṭb al-Shīrāzī (ca. 1236–1311). Several different hands copied this volume, which suffered damage, loss, and extensive replacement of the pages.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (Folio 1b): حمد و ثنا و شکری بی منتها حضرت پادشاهی را که افکار ازکیا و انظار عقلا در پیدای ظلمت و معرفت گیریای اواز قصور ادراک هر دم ندای سبحانك ماعرفانك میدهند...
Explicit: برگ ۳۱۳پ (Folio 313b): ... هشت در دارد چندان سیب بر داشت که بر هر در چون نیمه‌‌ٔ آنچه با او بود بوقتی که بیرون آمد یک سیب با او پیش نماند آن سیبها چند بوده باشد دویست و پنجاه و شیش بوده باشد و الله اعلم بالصواب.
Colophon: برگ ۳۱۳پ (Folio 313b): تمت الکتاب المسمی بنفایس الفنون مشتمل علی مایة و عشرین علماً من العلوم المتنوعه من النقلیات والعقلیات بحمد الله و حسن توفیقه والصلوة والسلام علی خیر الخلقه محمد و آله اجمعین.
Colophon: Uninformative colophon.
Language(s): Persian

For another single volume of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 147, and for a two-volume set, see Persian MS 148 and 149.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of straight and cross-grained, externally sized and polished, straw-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 484 folios, 6 flyleaves (ff. iv + 484 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 262 × 144 mm.
Dimensions (written): 180 × 93 mm.
Foliation: Two sets of Hindu-Arabic numerals appear on the upper-left corners of the a sides throughout.


Undetermined. Probably quaternions throughout. Catchwords present on most lower-left corners of the b sides.


In fair condition, with moderate water and insect damage and historical repairs throughout, and portions replaced.


Written in 1 column with 31 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in various hands in black naskh and nasta‘līq with red subheaders.

Replaced folios written in comparatively hasty black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.

Table of Contents: The third to fourth right flyleaves (ff. iiia–iva) lists the contents with corresponding folio numbers.
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/E’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 286’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘369’ written aside.


Probably rebound in Multan for former owner George William Hamilton.

Resewn at two stations unsupported. Flyleaves of of comparatively heavy, uneven cross-grained paper added at the beginning and end. Edges trimmed with chevron endbands twined in red and green silk threads over round cores at head and tail. Covered in full maroon-coloured goatskin leather over pasteboards, tight-backed, with squares along the edges, defined joints, and without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche). Internal doublures of the same leather, with the excess widths adhered as hinges on the first and last flyleaves to connect the text to the covers, with strips of paper, zig-zag cut along one edge, applied over top to disguise the joins.

Internal and external board margins double-ruled in yellow. Spine bears the title in yellow nasta‘līq.

176 × 155 × 67 mm.

Binding in good condition, with opening to the gutter margins restricted, and white salts on the exterior probably due to prolonged exposure to moisture.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; undated, but possibly 17th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner in Delhi. He acquired over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts, from which the British Museum selected 352, now held in the British Library.

Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder of Hamilton's collection in 1868.

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, Manchester.

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.

Subsequently augmented and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the manuscript 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.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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