Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 50 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This complete copy of the Dīvān of Ḥāfiẓ (ca. 1315–1390) contains most of the ghazal lyric poems and quatrains typically found in other copies. It also features a lavishly illuminated opening folios, headers, and margins. A scribe named Muḥammad ‘Alī Khvānsar completed this volume in Hyderabad at the start of Ẕī al-Qa‘dah 1221 AH (early–mid Jan. 1807), for the British Resident at Hyderabad, Thomas Sydenham (1780–1816).
Title: Dīvān
Title: دیوان
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b):
Explicit: برگ ۱۶۴ر (folio 164a): ماهی گه قدس بسر و میماند راست * آینه بدست روی خوم می‌آراست | گفتم سخن تو گفت حافظ گفتا * بر روح همه‌ٔ لطف گویان صلوات
Colophon: برگ ۱۶۴ر (folio 164a): این دیوان بعون الملک المنان بحسب الفرمودی بندگان(؟) عالجاه معلی چاه نگاه حشمت و شوکت و اجلال دستگاه لیلت وانهرت و اقبال همراه عمدة الامراء نواظام الکرام زبده اخواقین ذوی العز و الاحترام سردار سرداران عالیمقام صاحب اعالی ⟨جاه(؟) لشک(ر؟) طماس سدنم...⟩ بهادر خلاصهٔ نیکان جهان دام افباله بتاریخ غره شهر ذی قعده الحرام سنه ۱۲۲۱ در بلده حیدرآباد فرخنده بنیاز تحریر گوهر حرره محمد علی خوانسر
Colophon: Completed by Muḥammad ‘Alī Khvānsar in Hyderabad at the start of Ẕī al-Qa‘dah 1221 AH (early–mid Jan. 1807), with the name of the patron erased, but given the style and similarity to Persian MS 70, probably completed for Resident of Hyderaband, ُThomas Sydenham.
Language(s): Persian

One of ten copies of this work held in the Rylands, for others see Persian MS 14, 34, 262, 263, 288, 563, 842, 945, 946, and 1001–1003 (3 vols). For another manuscript completed by the same scribe for Sydenham held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 70. For more on Sydenham, see Urban.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury-coloured paper, watermarked with a large crest with a poweder horn dated 1802 underneath and countermarked Iping 1802, with ~15 laid lines per cm and ~25 mm between chain lines.
28 × 61 mm.
Extent: 166 folios, 3 flyleaves (ff. ii + 166 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 235 × 148 mm.
Dimensions (written): 180 × 95 mm.
Foliation: Two forms of modern pencilled Arabic numerals: the first inconsistently marked every ten pages on the upper-left corners of the a sides that commence on folio 2a, the second correctly marked in on the bottom-centres of nearly all b sides, followed for this record.


Primarily quaternions throughout, inclusive of all by the final endpaper 21IV(iv). Catchwords throughout on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Textblock in good condition.


Written in 1 and 2 columns with 14 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in elegant black nasta‘līq with occasional shikastah finials and ligatures by Muḥammad ‘Alī Khvānsar.


Headpiece: Folio 1b bears a scalloped domed headpiece with floriate scrollwork on an solid gilt ground above a central cartouche bearing a nasta‘līq basmala, and surmounted by vertical radiating lines.

Opening: Folios 1b to 2a fully outlined with scalloped cloud bands against a solid gild ground.

Ruling: Folios ruled in gold outlined with thin single internal and double external black lines, and surrounded by comparatively bold red and blue single line. Thin single gilt lines divide the vertical columns and horizontal breaks, outlined by internal and external single black lines, all surrounded by outer marginal ruling of the same on the initial folios 1b to 4a only, then afterwards replaced by a single blue line. The interstices of folios 2b to 3a also infilled with painted gold.

Marginalia: Pencilled notes in the margins throughout, possibly in the hand of former owner Sir Gore Ouseley.
  • The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears a catalogue numer ‘4350’ on the upper-left corner, a prince of ‘£4.14.6’ at top-centre, both of which comport with Howell and Stewart's catalogue entry. A price of 20 or 200 Rs (Rupees), subsequently crossed out, appears underneath, consistent with other books formerly owned by Sir Gore Ouseley, together with other bookseller notations.
  • The second right flyleaf b side (f. iib) inscribed ‘Nº 74
    Diwan Hafiz’ at top, which although unsigned, comports with the hand of Sir Gore Ouseley in other volumes. Pencilled notes underneath may also be in his hand.
  • The 1a bears Howell and Stewart's catalogue numer ‘4350’ on the upper-left corner
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘F/10’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 60’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘50’ written aside.


Contemporary binding likely executed in Hyderabadfor the original patron of the volume, Mīr Akbar ‘Alī Khān Sikandar Aṣaf Jāh III

Sewn at two stations, unsupported, with a single comparatively coarse endpaper added at the end, probably probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent. Edges trimmed, spine lined with cloth, and chevron endbands twined in gold and indigo threads at at head and tail. Covered in full, smooth, dark red goatskin, over pasteboards, without a flap, but with slightly protruding squares and defined joints (type III binding per Déroche). Interior doublures lined with indigenously manufactured, predominantly green, indigo, ochre, and pink loosely combed patterened marbled papers (abrī), with their excess widths adhered as hinges connecting the boards to the textblock. leather

Fore-edges painted with a pale, relatively hasty floral scrollwork design in gold wash Boards margins painted with a wide band of black dye, ruled with thick-and-thin double interior and exterior lines in gold, with the interior margin embellished with a palmette and trefoil scrollwork border. The outer black margin bears reapeatedly tooled with sunburst rosettes in gold, with clusters of four of the same on the interior margin corners, and three on the interstices. and Spine also painted with 13 black horizontal bands, ruled with gold single lines, with the same sunburst rosette tooled in the centres of the alternating red and black bands.

229 × 152 × 25 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair but stable condition with extensive surface abrasion, bumped upper corners, broken upper headcap, and also breaking in the joints by the head. Boards loosely connected, with the hinges lifting and pulling away from the textblock.


Origin: Completed by Muḥammad ‘Alī Khvānsar for ُThomas Sydenham in Hyderabad; start of Ẕī al-Qa‘dah 1221 AH (early–mid Jan. 1807).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Sir Gore Ouseley (1770–1844) as per an unsigned numbered inscription on second right flyleaf b side (f. iib), top, which comports with his hand as found in other Rylands volumes.

Evidently sold by Ouseley to booksellers Howell and Stewart, whom list it for sale in their 1827 catalogue, no. 4362, for £4 16 shillings and sixpence.

Purchased from Howell and Stewart by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead. After his death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866, and moved to Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

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.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 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.


    C. H. de Fouchécour, 'Ḥāfiẓ', Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, (2018)
    Ḥāfiẓ, The Dīvān Translated by Col. W. H. Clarke, 2 Vols. Calcutta: Government of India Central Printing Office, 1891.
    Howell and Stewart, A Supplement to Howell and Stewart's Catalogue of Oriental and Oriento-Biblical Literature for 1827 Including the Most Extensive and Valuable Collection of Eastern Manuscripts Ever Offered for Sale (London: Printed by J. Moyes, 1827) p. 91, no. 4350.
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 168, no. 561.
    G. Ouseley, Biographical Notices of Persian Poets; with Critical and Explanatory Remarks... (London: Oriental Translation Fund, 1846), pp. 23–42, no. 2.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 627–632 [British Library Add. 7759, &c].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), cols. 578–592, nos. 815–853 [Bodleian MS Ouseley 148, &c.].
    Tawfīq Subḥānī, 'Kitāb'hā-yi khaṭṭī-i Fārsī fihrist nashudah dar Kitābkhānah Jān Rāylāndz, Manchistir' Majallah-'i Dānishkadah-i Adabiyāt va ‘Ulūm-i Insānī n.s., Vol. 1, Nos. 2-3 (1372 SH [1993 CE]): p. 165, no. 4. [Rylands Persian MS 965]
    S. Urban 'Memoir of Thomas Sydenham, Esq.' The Gentleman's Magazine for October 1816, Vol. 86, Pt. 2 (Oct. 1816): pp. 374–375.
    E. Yarsharter et al, 'Hafez', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. XI, Fasc. 5 (2002), pp. 461–507.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Persian Heritage Foundation


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