Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 43 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Persian illustrated copy of the Dīvān-i Shāhī, a collection of poems by the Persian poet Amīr Shāhī Sabzavārī.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Remargined throughout in Bukhara style with stiff paper of various colours. The margins have been adorned with stencilled floral scroll designs and inlaid medallions of coloured paper, picked out with gold.
Extent: c. 50 folios
Dimensions (leaf): 26.7 × 19.7 cm.
Dimensions (written): 15.2 × 7.6 cm.
Foliation: The manuscript is numbered by pages rather than folios, the last being 100.




6 miniatures, including 4 double-page miniatures, in a style typical of Bukhara products of the time. Apart from in the miniature on page 678, however, all of the faces and figures, as well as some other details, have been heavily repainted in a Europen style. This was probably not long after the acquisition of the manuscript by Mr Fox. Pages 1, 4 and 5 are decorated with large floral scrolls, freely drawn in gold. On page 5 there is also an illuminated shamsa enclosing the bismallah. Pages 6 and 7 feature an illuminated double title-page. Sub-headimngs are written in white on illuminated panels.


European red leather binding, c. 1800. The spine is inscribed with 'DIVAN SHAHY: MS PERS."


Origin: Dated 987 AH (1579 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Colophon signed by Muhammad Salih and dated 987AH.

The manuscript was apparently acquired by a Mr C. Fox in 1800. At this point, the folios were not in the correct order. Fox consigned it to a friend, a Dr A. Clarke, evidently a Persian scholar, who rearranged the folios in their proper order and had the manuscript rebound. A note from him to Fox, mounted on the front fly-leaf, reads in part, 'Rejoice with me that I have had the very good fortune to restore poor misplaced Shahee to his original order, and find, that there is not a page missing. The book is a prize.' The manuscript was then subsequently 'Bought at Mr Fox's sale' by a Mr Wedderburn. It then became part of the collection of the Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865). Bland’s oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993. Identification of provenance based on manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s.

Manuscript description based on B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980).


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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