Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 392 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The undated sixth volume of a complete set of the Rawz̤at al-Ṣafā (Garden of Purity), a general history from the creation of the world to the time of the author, together with Persian MS 387, 388, 389, 390, 391, 393, and 394. While uniformly bound, the variant dimensions, formats and colophons within the set suggest that former owner George William Hamilton (1807–1868) assembled it together from disparate volumes completed in various locations and at different times; however, this specific manuscript comports with Persian MS 393

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Text block comprised of sized and polished, medium-weight, heavily flocked, cross-grained, straw-coloured paper, cross-grain, possibly handmade in India, with another comparatively thin stock added to restore folios 1 to 7 and 218 to 222.
Extent: 249 folios (ff. ii + 249 + ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 308 × 209 mm.
Dimensions (written): 266 × 143 mm.

Foliation marked at top-right corners of the a sides in Hindu-Arabic numerals in black ink.


Undetermined. Primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords written written on the lower-left corners on the b sides throughout.


Handle with caution. In fair condition, with stains, insect damage, historical repairs, and corrosive verdigris marginal ruling throughout the original portion of hte volume.


Written in 1 column, with 27 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in a clear, small nastaliq hand in black, with subheaders in red.


Illuminated header on folio 1b.

  • The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title of the volume and the name of former owner Colonel George William Hamilton.
  • Folio 1a bears an undated, partially obliterated nasta‘līq inscription by former owner Āqā Muḥammad Kāẓim, son of Muḥammad Hādī Iṣfahānī, which he also signed twice with his tughra (calligraphic name emblem) above and below. A munājāt prayer in a bold nasta'liq hand trimmed off at the fore-edge.
Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/C’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 309’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘392’ written aside.


Probably uniformly rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in Multan, together with the other volumes in full red goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap (type III binding per Déroche), as a set for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton.

326 × 216 × 42 mm.

Handle with caution. In fair condition, text block split between 121b to 124a, and with the opening of other areas restricted due to cross-grain paper. Exterior abraded, tail headcap broken, and doublure separating at the tail edge of the left board, and white salts (spew) likely resulting from prolonged exposure to moisture.


Folio 1a bears a partial round black seal impression, intaglio-carved in three stacked nasta‘līq script lines, double-ruled, with the name of Kasht(?) Hādī, evidently a courtier of Prince Muḥammad Mu‘aẓẓam Bahādur Shāh, son of the Mughal Emperor ‘Ālamgīr I, who later succeeded his father as Shāh ‘Ālam Bahādur I (r. 1707–1712), dated 1085 AH (1674–75 CE) with what may be a princely regnal year of 21:
‘ کشت (؟) هادی مرید شاه عالم[۲۱] ،١۰۸۵’
28 × 28 mm.

Accompanying Material

Four folios (two bifolia) loosely inserted at the front of the volume bear a table of contents written in a hand consistent with many other volumes that Hamilton formerly owned.


Origin: Probably completed in India; undated, but possibly 18th century. Originally completed together with Persian MS 393.

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by one Āqā Muḥammad Kāẓim, son of Muḥammad Hādī Iṣfahānī, as per his inscription and signatures on folio 1a.

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

In 1868, Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands 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 his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

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


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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