Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 378 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first of two undated but seemingly complete volumes, together with Persian MS 379, of the Tārīkh-i Firishtah (History of Firishtah), also known as the Gulshan-i Ibrāhīm (ٍRose-garden of Ibrāhīm), a chronicle by historian Muḥammad Qāsim Hindūshāh Astarābādī (fl. ca. 1585–1625), pennamed 'Firishtah' (Angel), together with Persian MS 379. He completed two redactions, one in 1015 (1606–07 CE) and another in 1018 (1609–10 CE) entitled Tārīkh-i Nawras'nāmah, both dedicated to his patron, the ruler of the Deccan Sultanate of Bijapur Ibrāhīm ‘Ādil Shāh II (b. 1570, r. 1580–1627). It features a preface on the pre-Islamic rulers of India followed by the Islamic period in twelve books. Since he relates many eyewitness accounts of his time in the Deccan, scholars till deem it a valuable reference today. An unidentified group of scribes probably originally completed this as a single volume in the early–mid sixteenth century, as indicated by a seal impression of a former owner or associated dated 1079 AH (1668–1669 CE); however, after it suffered significant damage and loss of some folios, a subsequent owner, probably Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868), later had it split into two when restored.
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم * نورس بستان کلام قدیم | پیش وجود همه‌ٔ آیندگان * بیش بقای همه پایندگان | قافله(؟) [سابقه] سالار جهان قدم * مرسله پیوند گلوی قلم | داغ نه ناصیه داران پاک * تاج ده تخت نشینان خاک. چون بر حکم «کنت کثیراً و مخفیاً بقلم قدرت رقم ابداع بر صحیفهٔ احوال مصنوعات کشیده بدست عنایت شاهد نورس وجود را از بند عدم آزاد گردانید نسیم جان بخش روح پرور از چمن و نفخت فیه من روحی در احتراز آورده...
Explicit: برگ ۴۶۶پ (folio 466b): ...روز آورد و هر چند سعی کرد که انرا بر گردانید شود منه...

The text ends abruptly with a catchword indicating the next page, now Persian MS 379, folio 1a.

Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 380, 826 (formerly owned by an early translator of the work, Jonathan Scott), and 10141016 (3 vols). For a critical Persian edition, see Briggs. For English translations of selections, see Briggs, Scott, and Dow.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of various cross-grained, externally sized and polished, straw-coloured papers all probably handmade in the Mughal Empire. Straight-grained, natural ivory and possibly henna-tinted papers the latter use to infill missing portions and both to replace missing quires when restored.
Extent: 466 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. ii + 466 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 328 × 179 mm.
Dimensions (written): 265 × 128 mm.
Foliation: Hindu-Arabic numerals written on the upper-left corners of the a sides throughout, which continue to the second volume.


Undetermined, but possibly primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords present on the lower-left corners of the b sides throughout.


Text in fair but stable condition, with moderate water damage and stains throughout.


Written in 1 column with 22 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in several hands, possibly initially by a group of scribes who collaborated on the original manuscript, ranging from clear nasta‘līq to hasty shikastah in black with red subheaders.

Replaced ivory and henna-tined folios written in two comparatively clear black nasta‘līq hands with red subheaders.

Table of Contents: listed on the second left flyleaf a and b sides (ff. iia–iib). Inscriptions: The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the Persian title, volume number, and author's name and penname, likely in the hand of Muhīn Dās, assistant to former owner George William Hamilton .
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/B’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 295’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘378’ written aside.


Originally covered in a Type II binding with a flap as evinced by stains remaining on folios 360b and 361a. Possibly thereafter restored and rebound in Multan for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) in circa 1850–1860 CE.

Volume split into two and resewn on three thong supports. Very thin, ivoury-colored machine-made wove paper added as endpapers at beginning and end. Edges trimmed, and chevron endbands twined in blue and white silk over round cores at head and tail. Covered in full maroon goatskin leather over pasteboards, tight-backed spine, with squares along the edges, but without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche). Leather thong sewing supports adhered to the board interiors, with strips of the same endpaper stock applied over top to disguise the joins (but the tips still appear evident underneath). Internal joints reinforced with strips of British-manufactured spot-patterned marbled paper.

Board margins dyed brown ~1 cm in from the edges, double-ruled in yellow on either side, with another single-rule internal margin. Octagonal paper spinelabel bears the title of the work and volume number written in nasta‘līq.

341 × 193 × 71 mm.

Binding in fair but stable condition, with some breakage at the joints of the headcaps, and abrasion to the exterior joints and spine. Opening to the gutter margins restricted in some areas.

Folio 1a bears a circular black seal impression, intaglio-carved in four stacked nasta‘līq script lines, double-ruled, with the name of former owner or associate, Zāl Abū Sa‘īd, dated 1079 AH (1668–1669 CE):

‘زال ابو سعید امام دین احمد سنه ۱۰۷۹’ ~31 mm. diam.


Origin: Probably originally completed as a single volume by a group of scribes in the Mughal Empire; undated, but probably early to mid-16th century CE..

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by one Zāl Abū Sa‘īd, as per his seal impression 1079 AH (1668–1669 CE) on folio 1a.

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.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 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.


    J. Briggs, 'Essay on the Life and Writings of Ferishta'. Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 2, No. 1 (1829): pp. 341–361.
    H. M. Elliot and John Dowson, The History of India, As Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, Vol. VI (London: Trübner & Co., 1875), pp. 207–236, no. LI.
    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office, Vol. 1 (London: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903), cols. 113–118, nos. 291–302 [British Library, IO Islamic 1408, etc.].
    Firishtah, Ferishta's History of Dekkan from the first Mahummedan conquests. Translated by J. Scott. Shrewsbury: Printed by J. and W. Eddowes for John Stockdale, Picadilly, London, 1794.
    Firishtah, Tarikh-i-Ferishta, or, History of the rise of the Mahomedan power in India, till the year A.D. 1612. Translated by Major-General John Briggs. Vols. I, II, III, and IV. London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1829.
    Firishtah, Tarikh-i-Ferishta, or, History of the rise of the Mahomedan power in India, till the year A.D. 1612, by Mahomed Kasim Ferishta, of Astrabad. Edited and collated from various manuscript copies on the spot, and examined with the best maps by Major-General John Briggs, F.R.S. ... assisted by Munshi Mir Kheirat Ali Khan Mushtak of Akberabad, Vols. I and II. Bombay: Lithographed at the Government College Press, 1831.
    G. P. Greswell, Bibliotheca Chethamensis: Sive Bibliothecæ Publicæ Mancuniensis Ab Humfredo Chetham Armigero Fundatæ Catalogus, Vol. III (Mancunii: Henricus Smith, 1826), p. 164, no. 7992 [Rylands Persian MS 1013–1015].
    G. R. G. Hambly, 'Ferešta, Tārīḵ-e', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. IX, Fasc. 5 (2003), pp. 533–534.
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), pp. 145–147, no. 471.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum, 1879), pp. 225–228 [British Library Add. 6569–6571, &c.].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), col. 116, no. 217 [Bodleian MS Hunt 265].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. I, Pt. 2, Fasc. 3 (London: Luzac & Co., 1953), pp. 445-450, no. 617.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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