Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 489 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This incomplete, undated brief agricultural treatise, here entitled Risālah-'i Mazrū‘āt (Treatise on Crops), frequently appears under several variant titles, such as Kitāb dar Filāḥat (Book on Farming) and Bāghnāmah (Book of Gardening). Written in a clear script and concise, accessible style, its twelve chapters treat topics ranging from cultivating of seeds and grains, soil conditioning, and tree propagation, including two lengthy subsections devoted to cultivating olives and grapes. It also offers advice on cultivating apple and other fruit trees, pests and their management, a detailed section on preparing and preserving various foods, toegether with comments on their consumption, and other practical uses and remedies. The volume concludes with a discussion of the benefits of pigeon-keeping and the construction of dovecotes. The extensive damage and repair evident throughout the volume suggest that many readers appreciated the practical advice that it contains. Vermilion seal impressions over the paper repairs indicate that the royal library of Awadh (Oude) in Lucknow at one point accessioned and restored the volume well after an unidentified scribe copied it.
Title: Bāghnāmah
Rubric: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الحمد لله
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): خالق الحب والنوی و خالق القادر والقوی و صلوة علی رسوله محمد خیر الوری واله و ائمته المنتجبلین مصایح الدجی و بعد این مختصریست در معرفت بعرضی امور که اهل فلاحت را بکار آید مشتمل بر دوازده باب...
Explicit: برگ ۶۱پ (folio 61b): و اگر سر خفّاش در کبوتر خانه بیآویرند با شاخی که از درخت را شکست باشند در وقتی که نپر میشده بیاویند بآن خانه الفت تمام گیرند. و اللّه اعلم.
Colophon: برگ ۶۱پ (folio 61b): تمام شد هذا الکتاب تم تم تم.
Colophon: Unsigned and undated colophon.

The incipit in this manuscript slightly varies from most other versions, which open with:
الحمد لله فالق الحب والنواي...
(Praise be to God who sprouts the seeds and date-stones), a reference to Qur'ān 6:95, Surah al-An'am (Chapter of the Cattle).
The text breaks off in Chapter 7, folio 30b, in a passage on the propagation of peaches and its diseases, then resumes on 41a on preserving grapevines from Chapter 9, with portions in between clearly lost. Nevertheless, the work largely comports with a manuscript dated 7 Ẕī-al-Ḥijjah 1004 AH (2 Aug. 1596 CE) held in the Library, Museum and Document Center of Iran Parliament in Tehran, no. 74201 (5572), Bodleian MS. Or. Fraser 188, and Wadham College Minasian 252; however, the header for the conclusion mistakenly appears earlier on 57b despite topics pertaining to various food usages that clearly continue from the prior chapter, whereas the true concluding section devoted to pigeon-keeping commences on 60a. In his critical edition of the text, Īrāj Afshār attributes this work to famed mathematician and astronomer ʻAbd al-ʻAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn Birjandī (d. 1528) , citing two 19th-century manuscripts and another lithographed edition. However, whether the earliest extant copies also support this attribution awaits confirmation. See Birjandī, Afshār ed.

Language(s): Persian
Title: Chapter 1, with 3 Prefaces
Title: اول: در مقدمات و آن سه است
Title: First Preface
Title: مقدمه اول: در معرفت هوا و باران
Title: Second Preface: Maxims on sunrise from the poetry of Yamānī
Title: مقدمه دوم: در احکام طلوع شعرای یمانی
Title: Third Preface: On some affairs of agriculture
Title: مقدمه سوم: در بعضی از امور فلاحت
Title: Chapter 2: On Sowing Seeds
Title: دومم: در معرفت زراعت حبوب
Title: Chapter 3: On Soil Acidity
Title: سیّوم: معرفت اموری که مضر است
Title: Chapter 4: On Grains
Title: چهارم: در جمع کردن غلات
Title: Chapter 5: On Tree Propagation
Title: پنجم: معرفت درخت نشاندن
Title: Chapter 6: On Grafting Many Trees
Title: پنجم: معرفت نشاندن درخت بسیار است
Title: Part One: Grapevine Propagation
Title: فصل اول: معرفت نشاندن انگور
Title: Part Two: Olive Tree Propagation
Title: فصل اول: معرفت نشاندن انگور
Title: Chapter 7: Apple Tree Propagation
Title: پنجم: معرفت نشاندن درخت بسیار است
Title: [Chapter 9: On Harvesting and Preserving Fruit]
Title: [نهم: معرفت میوه چیدن و نگاهداشتن]
Title: Chapter 10: On Legumes
Title: دهم: معرفت زراعت بقول
Title: Chapter 11: On Pests
Title: دهم: معرفت حیوانات موذیه
Title: Chapter 12: Uses of Legumes and Plants
Title: دوازدهم: در منافع بعضی از بقول و نباتات
Title: Conclusion: On Pigeon-keeping
Title: در معرفت کبوتر نگاهداشتن [خاتمه]

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of straight-grained, beige-coloured, highly sized and polished paper, probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with 8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 52 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 52 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 209 × 117 mm.
Dimensions (written): 142 × 72 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in Hindu-Arabic numerals on the upperleft corners of the a sides throughout, with folios 32 to 39 omitted.


Probably originally quinternions throughout, but subsequently disrupted when restored. 3X+1(30)2II+5(51)1IV(59)1I(61). Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle text with caution. In poor, but stable condition, with extensive insect damage and historical repairs throughout. Folios 31 to 40 now missing.


Written in 1 column with 14 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders and markings.

Marginalia:Occasional notes written in another hasty black nasta‘liq hand.
  • The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title written in Persian and ‘number 870’.
  • Folio 1a summarizes the chapters topics and subtopics:
    ‘در معرفت هوا و باران و احکام طلوع شعر يمانی...’
    Also at bottom:
    ‘نسخه مغلوط است’
    Nuskhah maghlūṭ ast’ (‘Text is defective’).
  • Folio 1b bears a dated inspection notation by probable Awadh royal library attendant Muḥammad Bayg, who similary signed other volumes held there. ‘اهتمام محمد بیگ سنه ۱۲۳۱’
    Ihtimām Muḥammad Bayg sana 1231’ (‘Inspected by Muḥammad Bayg year 1231 AH [1815–16 CE]’).
  • The first left flyleaf a side (f. iia) bears a prayer ascribed to Ḥāfiẓ above a magic square.
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/J’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 406’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘489’ written aside.


Probably rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in the Delhi for former owner George William Hamilton.

Resewn at three unsupported stations. Endpapers of comparatively thin, bright ivory-coloured paper, likely handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~10 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines added at front and back, but the edges appear left untrimmed, with remnants of undertermined endbands left at the head. Covered in full brownish-red goatskin leather over pasteboards, with squares at the edges and defined joints, but without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche). .

Boards decorated with blocked paper onlays, subsequently discoloured. The same blocks appear on Persian MS 611. A handritten octagonal label bears the title on the spine, with another horizontal rectangle bearing the same applied to the exterior left cover.

220 × 130 × 17 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition with exteriors and board edges abraded and paper onlays discoloured.

Two types of vermilion, rectangular library seal impressions of two kings of Awadh (Oude), both intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in two stacked lines:

1: Folios 2a and 60b bear library seal impressions of Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837) dated 1244 AH (1828–29 CE), inscribed with his title Sulaymān Jāh, within two stacked single-ruled cartouches:
خوش است مهر کتبخانه سلیمان جاه * بهر کتاب مزین چو نقش بسم الله، ١٢۴۴
Khvush ast muhur-i kitābkhānah-'i Sulaymān Jāh bahr-i kitāb; muzayyin chaw naqsh-i basmallah, 1244 (The seal of the library of Sulaymān Jāh is good; it embellishes the book like the design of a basmallah, 1244).
17 × 37 mm.

2: Folios 1b and 61b bear library seal impressions surmounted by the royal emblem of Awadh, of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847) dated 1260 AH (1844–45 CE), within a dotted border:
ناسخ هر مهر شد چون شد مزین بر کتاب * خاتم امجد علی شاه زمان عالیجناب، ١٢٦٠
Nāsukh har muhur shud chun shud muzayyin bar kitāb; khātim-i Amjad ‘Alī Shāh zamān-i ‘Ālījanāb, 1260 (Every [prior] seal became cancelled since the book became embellished by the seal of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh in the era of his Sublime Majesty, 1260).
53 × 45 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; undated, but possibly circa 1650–1750.

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly held in the royal library of the kings of Awadh (Oude) in Lucknow, as indicated by their seal impressions on folios 1a, 60b, and 61b. Probably initially held in the Moti Mahal Palace, then later transferred to the Qaisarbagh Palace, then presumably looted from the latter during India's First War of Independence, when British soldiers ransacked the Qaisarbagh palace and library on 15 March 1858 (see Wolseley's memoir).

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.

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 2022 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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile).


    ‘Abd al-‘Alī Birjandī (attributed), Maʻrifat-i Falāḥat: Davāzdah Bāb-i Kishāvarzī. Edited by Īrāj Afshār. Tehran: Mīrās̱-i Maktūb, 1387 SH (2008 CE).
    M. Dirāyatī and M. Dirāyatī, Fihristgān: Nuskhahʹhā-yi Khaṭṭī-i Īrān (Fankhā) (Union catalogue of Iran manuscripts), Vol. 3 (Tehran: Sāzmān-i Asnād va Kitābkhānah-i Millī-i Jumhūrī-i Islāmī-i Īrān, 1390 SH [2011–12 CE]), p. 84 [Mālik no. 492/2, 1232/3, &c.].
    C. R. Low, A Memoir of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet J. Wolseley (London: R. Bentley, 1878), pp. 168–169.
    V. Ivanov, Concise Descriptive Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the Curzon Collection (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1926), p. 429, no. 630 [ASB Curzon Ia 116].
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum, 1879), pp. 417–418 [British Library Add. 23542/IV and Or. 1587/III].
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. III (London: British Museum, 1883), p. 1028 [British Library Or. 1771/III].
    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. 1080, no. 1875 [Bodleian Fraser 188].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. II, Pt. 3 (London: Luzac & Co., 1977), p. 377, no. 635: Appendix (nos. 6 and 11).

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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