Persian MS 47 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)
While this manuscript lacks an explicit title, Michael Kerney correctly identified it as the Salīm-Shāhnāmah in his Handlist, p. 109. However, subsequent electronic records employed another mistaken title, Tārīkh-i Mawlā-yi Mulūk al-‘Arab, derived from the dedication to Sultan Selim II (b. 1524, r. 1566–1574) on folio 4b. For a complete descriptions of the contents, see Rieu, Catalogue Vol. I, pp. 218–219 [British Library Add. 24960] and Markiewicz.
Written in 1–2 columns with 25 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.
Primarily written in nasta‘līq (Ottoman: talīḳ) script in black ink, with subheadings in gold, blue, and red riqā‘ (Ottoman: rıḳā‘) script.
Elaborate early Ottoman-era illumination throughout.
Roundel: Folio 4a bears an illuminated roundel with an Arabic dedication to the manuscript's patron, Sultan Selim II, written in white rayḥānī outlined in thin black, against a gold ground and set within floral scrollwork, and surrounded by ultramarine radiating lines:
‘قد وقع توقيع هذا التاريخ برسم خزانهٔ مولى ملوك العرب والعجم السلطان بن السلطان ابو الفتح سلطان سليمشاه خان بن سليمان شاه بن سلطان سليم خان خلد الله ملكه’
Headers: Folio 4b bears an elaborate lobed sarlawḥ (Turkish: serlevha) with a basmalla written in white thuluth script outlined in thin black, within gold and ultramarine cartouches bearing floral scrollwork, surmounted by lobed decoration featuring the same, with vertical ultramarine radiating lines (Turkish: tiğ) terminating in floral blossoms atop. Other illuminated subheaders found throughout.
Ruling: Marginal ruling throughout in gold outlined with thin single interior and double exterior black lines, and surrounded by a comparatively thick ultramarine single line..
Folios 1a and 193a: Sy 325, from de Sacy's library.
Folio 4a, top: brief inscriptions in Persian in nasta‘liq:
خط همايون (Imperial Script) and كتاب تواريخ فارسي (Book of Persian Histories).
- Folio 4a, bottom: Four Arabic couplets in nasta‘līq script, signed underneath by famed Ottoman theologian and Şeyhülislam, Ebūssu‘ūd Efendī (1492–1575):
سفر جليل مثل بحر زاخر * ابوابه اصداف درّ فاخر
نظمت فرائده و من بقعره * عجبا لصنع عبقري نادر
ما إن رأه ولا رواه حكاية * احد علي مر الزمان الغابر
طوي لصانعه من الحبر الذي * ورث الفضائل كابرا عن كابر
Folio 193b: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘F/4’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 57’.
Resewn at four unsupported stations, without endbands. Originally covered in full, possibly in two-piece, tight-backed, smooth dark red goatskin leather with fore-edge flap (type II binding per Déroche). Spine later rebacked in dark maroon goatskin leather with a new envelope flap added in the same leather, with remnants remounted. Later Endpapers of orange-tinted European handmade paper, folio 2 (second right flyleaf) watermarked with a crossed orb surmounted by a six-pointed criss-cross star, with ~1 mm between laid lines and ~32 mm between chain lines, whereas folio 192 (second to last flyleaf) watermarked with a cross above a shallow urn on a stand with curved legs, with ~ 1 mm between laid lines and ~28 mm between chain lines.
The exterior features sunken onlays of smooth, dark green leather, with relief areas of the deeply pressure-moulded scalloped mandorlas, attached pendants, and corners embellished and perimeters outlined in gold ink. Interior doublures lined with the same red goatskin leather as the exterior, but with pressure-moulded recessed scalloped mandorlas with gilt grounds. The fore-edge flap bears five cartouches with central knotwork designs, with ruling, all in gold, with the surrounding wide rule ruling stamped with a chain design. The replaced envelope flap exterior bears blind fillet lines around the perimeter and European fleur-de-lis impression by the tip.
306 × 206 × 33 mm.
Binding in good condition.
Provenance and Acquisition
Subsequently acquired by French orientalist Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy, (1758–1838), as per notations on folios 1a and 193a which correspond to his 1843 library sale catalogue, no. 325.
Purchased in Paris at the de Sacy sale by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), after whose death London antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866.
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.
Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript handlist by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.
Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)
Funding of Cataloguing
Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute