Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 465 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A rare collection of Inshā' (ornate prose) correspondence primarily exchanged or received by the Deccan Sultanate ruler Ibrāhīm Qutb Shah (b. 1518, r. 1550–1580), with other rulers and elites. Compiled by one Muḥammad Qāsim Tabasī, probably in the early 17th century, this undated and unsigned manuscript, probably completed in the Indian subcontinent, contains a seal impression dated regnal year ‘Ālamgīri 36 (1 Ramaz̤ān 1103–29 Sha‘bān 1104 AH / 17 May 1692–5 May 1693 CE), so it may date relatively soon after the work's completion.
Author and Compiler: Tabasī, Muḥammad Qāsim, fl. 17th c.;
محمد قاسم طبسی
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): از حضرت قطبشاه بعالشاه نوشته شده. بسم الله... اتاني کتاب في البلاغة منته * الی غایته لیس یقارب و بالوصف| ...سـاس بی قياس و اجناس ستايش قويم الاساس قادری را سزاوارست که زبان صنائع...
Explicit: برگ ١٥۳ر (folio 153a): ... عالی رتبت متعالی قریب سعادت پناه عظمت دستگاه قدوة العاطیم ولا عالی جمع المکارم والمعالی آنکه ذات اشرفش را حاجت اوصاف هست. قال الله تعالى هو الله و رطیب زمان و اظهار مکان شرافت وصول ارزایی فرمود
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

In his manuscript handlist, Michael Kerney vaguely describes this manuscript as about 100 years old; however, the seal impression on folio 1a dated regnal year ‘Ālamgīri 36 (1 Ramaz̤ān 1103–29 Sha‘bān 1104 AH / 17 May 1692–5 May 1693 CE) proves it must be older, hence probably completed in the mid-17th century. For a detailed description of what may be an initial portion of this compilation, see Ivanow. This volume may contain variant entries from other manuscripts, which await further study and comparison.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock comprised of mixture of two types of externally sized and polished paper both possibly handmade in the Indian subcontinent: one medium-weight, heavily flocked, and straw-coloured with ~10 laid lines per cm, and another comparatively thin, cream-coloured stock, with ~11 laid lines per cm, and neither exhibiting any discernible chain lines.
Extent: 153 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 153 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 212 × 135 mm.
Dimensions (written): 151 × 88 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-right corners of the a sides throughiout by the cataloguer.


Primarily quaternions throughout, but disrupted at the end when restored. 18IV-1(144)1III-2(149)1II+1(153) Catchwords throughout; however, many appear illegible due to damage or obscured by repairs.


Handle text with caution. In poor condition, extensive insect damage, discoloration and embrittlement in areas, with extensive historical repairs executed with a range of different papers. Red staining on folio 14.


Primarily in 1 column with 13 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied as a specimen of of elegant composition, albeit hastily, in black nastalīq with shikastah ligatures and with red subheaders.

Marginalia: Notes in various hands throughout.
Inscriptions: The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears an unsigned description of the work with the name of former owner Colonel George William Hamilton, likely in the hand of his assistant Muhīn Dās.
Folios 1a bears a partly obliterated ownership note superimposed by a seal impression of Mīr Abd al-Qudūs ibn Mū'min Khān, hence probably his signature:
‘اقل الخلیفة بالملک الحقیقة ⟨میر عبد القدوس(؟)⟩ ... عفی الله عنه’
Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/I’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 382’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘465’ written aside.


Probably rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in Dehli for Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) after 1863.

Resewn all-along on a single flat support. Endpapers of comparatively coarse, eggshell-coloured handmade paper added at the beginning and end, then edges trimmed and chevron endbands twined in red and white threads at head and tail over round cores. Covered in full, crimson goatskin leather, tight-backed, over pasteboards, with squares along the edges, defined joints, but without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche).

Spine and board margins stained brown, with a thin strips of green paper applied along the interior edge, repeatedly stamped with insular dots, then outlined with single yellow lines, with another interior margin of the same, and double lines along the board perimeters (compare with Rylands Persian MS 674). Octagonal paper spine label bears the title written in black nasta‘līq.

221 × 147 × 26 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, with surface abrasion, cracking spine, and torn headcaps. Sewing broken between folios 40b–40a and 148b-149a.

Folio 1a bears two legible seal impressions, with another partial, illegible impression found on folio 14a:

Circular black seal impression in three stacked nasta'līq lines read upwards, triple-ruled, of Mīr Abd al-Qudūs ‘ibn Mū'min Khān, dated regnal year ‘Ālamgīri 36 (1 Ramaz̤ān 1103–29 Sha‘bān 1104 AH/17 May 1692–5 May 1693 CE).
~29 mm. diam.


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

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned by Mīr ‘Abd al-Qudūs ibn Mū'min Khān as per his seal impressions dated regnal year ‘Ālamgīri 36 (1 Ramaz̤ān 1103–29 Sha‘bān 1104 AH/17 May 1692–5 May 1693 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 purchased 352 from his widow, Charlotte Logie Hamilton (1817–1893), 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, and in consultation with Dr. Hunter Bandy, École Pratique des Hautes Études-section des sciences religieuses and Laboratoire d'études sur les monothéismes (LEM) who correctly identified this work.


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)


    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), col. 1157, no. 2107 [British Library, IO Islamic 18, ff. 120a–160b].
    V. Ivanow, Concise Descriptive Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the Collection of the Asiatic society of Bengal, Vol. 1 (: , 1924), pp. 153–154, no. 350 [Asiatic Society of Bengal F. 9].
    Kitābkhānah-i Majlis-i Shūrā-yi Millī, Fihrist-i Kitābkhānah-'i Majlis-i Shūrā-yi Millī: Kutub-i Khaṭṭī Fārsī, Vol. 1 (Tehran: Majlis-i Shūrā-yi Millī, 1311 SH (1933 CE)), p. 203 no. 144 [Kitābkhānah-'i Majlis-i Shūrā Nuskhah-yi Fārsī گ 580, Ms. 5138 [ff. 492a–509a].
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 396, no. 483.
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. III, Pt. 2 (London: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1990), p. 272, no. 449.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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