Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 528 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A collection of epistles entitled Ruqʻāt-i Jāmī (Letters of Jāmī) by Timurid-era Sufi poet by ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492). Copied in elegant ta‘līq script typically employed for missives by a scribe named Darvīsh ‘Alī bin Pīr Aḥmad al-Mashhadī al-Mubashir in 951 AH (1544–1545 CE)
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): بعد از انشای صحایف ثنا محمدیت لله الذی ایران علی عبده للکتاب و پس ازادای ...
Explicit: برگ ۱۱۵پ (folio 115b): یعنی(؟) که نصب نیکخواهان بد(؟) شد. مقلوب شده روحی بر خون بواد(؟).
Colophon: برگ ۱۱۶ر (folio 116a): تمت الکتاب بعون المالک الوهاب درویش علی بن پیر احمد المشهدی المبشر عف ذنوبهما و ستر عیوبهما فی شهور سنه ۹۵۱ وم وم وم.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of medium-weight cross-grained, externally sized and polished, straw-coloured paper possibly handmade in the Safavid Empire with ~10 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 116 folios, 4 flyleaves (ff. ii + 116 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 246 × 162 mm.
Dimensions (written): 188 × 116 mm.
Foliation: Pencilled Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides when catalogued.


Primarily quaternion. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle text with caution. In fair condition, with moderate water and insect damage and historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 column with 5 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in elegant black ta‘līq by Darvīsh ‘Alī bin Pīr Aḥmad al-Mashhadī al-Mubashir.

Marginalia: Notes in various hands written between the lines and in the margins.
  • The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title in nasta‘līq script, probably in the hand of Muhīn Dās, assistant to former owner Colonel George William Hamilton.
  • Folio 1a bears several notations:
    • Top: Three inscriptions in various hands on the upper-left corner all record the title in Persian, one partly legible, but two noting a price of 15 in Indic sīyāq script. A comparatively bold script bears a number ‘279’ underneath.
    • Middle: An inspection notation by probable Awadh royal library attendant Muḥammad Bayg dated 1231 AH (1815–16 CE), who similary signed other volumes now held in the Rylands:
      ‘ اهتمام محمد بیگ سنه ۱۲۳۱’
      ‘Ihtimām Muḥammad Bayg sanah 1231 (Inspected by Muḥammad Bayg, year 1231)’.
Bookplates: The left doublure: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/F’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 445’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘528’ written aside.


Probably rebound in a hydrid British-Indian style in Multan for former owner George William Hamilton between 1858 and 1862.

Resewn at two stations, unsupported. Edges trimmed, the head coloured black, and chevron endbands of green and red silk threads twined at head and tail. Covered in full maroon-coloured goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap but with squares at the edges and defined joints (type III binding per Déroche). Internal doublures lined with the same leather, their excess widths adhered as hinges to the flyleaves to connect the cover to the text, with strips of paper, decoratively cut with zig-zags along one edges, applied over top to disguise the joins.

Board margins painted black with foliate palmette vines, similar to Rylands Persian MS 533, 534, and 539. Title handwritten in nasta‘līq script on the spine within a hand-painted gold cartouche.

228 × 141 × 22 mm.

Binding in fair but stable condition.

Two vermilion library seal impressions on folio 1a, both intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in two stacked lines, of the kings of Awadh (Oude), along with a small rectangular intaglio-carved black impression on folio 99b.

1: Folios 1b and 115b bear rectangular library seal impressions of Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837), within two stacked cartouches, double-ruled and dated 1244 AH (1828–1829 CE), inscribed with his title Sulaymān Jāh::
‘ 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 AH’).
17 × 37 mm.

2: Folios 1b and 116b bear rectangular library seal, surmounted by the royal emblem of Awadh, of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847), beaded-ruled and dated 1260 AH (1844–1845 CE), on folios :
‘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 AH’).
53 × 45 mm.

3: Folio Folios 99b bears two impressions from a small black, rectangular seal in three diagonally stacked nasta‘liq lines, single-rules, with the name of Jagat Narāyin, probably dated 1207 AH (1792–1793 CE):
‘جگت نراین ١٢۷٠’

9 × 11 mm.


Origin: Completed by Darvīsh ‘Alī bin Pīr Aḥmad al-Mashhadī al-Mubashir, possibly in the Safavid Empire; 951 AH (1544–1545 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Seemingly inspected by Jagat Narāyin> as per his seal impression on folio 99b. He may be the same as a poet by that name who completed a panegyric poem honouring the Nawwāb of Awadh Aṣaf al-Dawlah (b. 1748, r. 1795–1797) upon his death. If correct, it suggests that this manuscript resided in the Awadh (Oude) royal library in Faizabad at that time.

Transferred to the royal library of Awadh (Oude) in Lucknow, as indicated by dated library notations on folio 1a, and seal impressions of the Kings of Awadh Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837) and Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847), then presumably looted 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 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.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the manuscript 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.


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Persian Heritage Foundation


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