Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 533 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An illuminated and illustrated Safavid-era copy of the Subḥat al-Abrār (Rosary of the Pious) composed by Timurid-era poet ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492) comprises the fifth of seven books in his collection entitled Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones). Unsigned and undated, but seemingly complete, it contains four Safavid-era illustrations which suggest that commercial artists in Shiraz possibly completed the volume in the late 16th century CE
Incipit: (preface) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): المنته لله که بخون کر خفتم * یکچند چو گنچه عقبات شگفتم...
Incipit: (beginning ) برگ ۲پ (folio 2b): ابتدی بسم الله الرحمان * الرحیم المتولی الاحسان...
Explicit: برگ ۱۰۴ر (folio 104a): حس مقطع چو بود رسم کهن * چشم کردیم برین نکته سخن | ختم لله لنا بالحسنی * هو مولانا نعم المولی.
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this text held in the Rylands see, Persian MS 29, 534, and 851, as well as in the Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) Persian MS 949.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, heavily flocked, externally sized and polished, buff-coloured paper, probably handmade in the Safavid Empire, with ~9 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 105 folios, 7 flyleaves (ff. i + 78 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 224 × 137 mm.
Dimensions (written): 147 × 73 mm.
Foliation: Modern pencilled Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides, inclusive of the original endpapers at the beginning and one at the end, referenced for this record.


Undetermined due to tight opening. 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 to 2 columns with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with blue subheaders.


Headpieces: Folio 1b bears a scalloped domed headpiece at the start of the preface, with gilt palmette foliate scrollwork on a solid gold ground, above cloud-collar designs featuring palmette scrollwork on an ultramarine ground.
81 × 70 mm.
Folio 2b bears another scalloped domed headpiece at the start of the poem proper, with floriate scrollwork executed over both gold and ultramarine grounds, above a rectangle containing a cartouche with the title written in white.
81 × 72 mm.

Carpet Pages: Folios 1b to 2a bear cloud outlines around each line with the interstices infilled with goldwith gilt palmette foliate scrollwork on a solid gold ground, above cloud-collar designs featuring palmette scrollwork on an ultramarine ground.

Flecking: Margins flecked on the illustrated pages and those opposite, as well as closing.

Ruling: Margins ruled with thick gold lines outlined with thin black single black internal and double external lines, with intermediate single white lines, and another comparatively thin line of gold, outlined with thin single external and double internal lines, all surrounded by single pale blue lines.

  • The second right flyleaf a side (f. iia) 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: Unsigned inspection notice dated 14 Rabī‘ II 1192 AH (12 May 1778 CE)
      ‘بتاریخ چهاردهم شهر ربیع الثانی سنه ۱۱۹۲ هجری موجود است.’
    • Middle: An unsigned inspection notice dated 17 Rabī‘ II 1256 AH (18 Jun 1840 CE) appears above the seal impression of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (no. 2).
    • Three unsigned, partly legible inspections notices appear below the seal of Wājid ‘Alī Shāh (no. 3) , possibly dated 5 Jumādà I 1195 AH (29 Apr. 1781 CE), 17 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah 1197 AH (14 Oct. 1783 CE), and 15 Rabī‘ I 1200 AH (15 Feb. 1786 CE).
    • Bottom: To the left of the seal of Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (no. 1) Sunday, 14 Ṣafar 1212 AH (8 Aug. 1797).
    • Written to the left of th seal of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (no. 2) dated 29 Ṣafar 1241 AH (13 Oct. 1825).
    • Below the above, a noted dated 29 Rabī‘ I 1260 AH (18 Oct. 1844).
  • Folio 78b bears a notation next to the seal of Farīdūn Khān (no. 5), hence probably in his hand, in which he describes his purchase of the volume for 150 Rupees from Ḥajjī Khalīl ‘Arab (or Jalīl ‘Arab) on Wednesday, 5 Ẕī-al-Ḥijjah 1153 AH (21 Feb. 1741 CE):
    ‘بتاریخ پنجم ذیالحجة روز چهار شنبه سنه ۱۱۵۳ خجری نبوی بقیمت صد و پنجاه روپیه خرید این از حاجی خلیل عرب با عبارت ازش تومان شب لعینت(؟)’
Bookplates: The left doublure: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘F/10’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 450’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘533’ written aside.


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

Two bifolia of cross-grained, buff-coloured, highly flocked paper probably handmade in Punjab, with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines, added as endpapers when initially rebound, with machine-made flyleaves added when restored. Possibly resewn at two stations, unsupported. Edges trimmed but endbands omitted. 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, with their excess widths adhered probably originally attached as hinges to the flyleaves to connect the cover to the text; however, subsequently restored and re-hinged with maroon goatskin leather

Board margins painted black with foliate palmette vines, similar to Rylands Persian MS 520, 534, and 539. Title handwritten in nasta‘līq script on the spine in gold.

231 × 145 × 25 mm.

Binding in fair but stable condition, with blackened upper corners due to water damage and remnants of a paper cover adhered to the interior doublures.

Three vermilion library seal impressions on folio 1a, all intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in two stacked lines, of the kings of Awadh (Oude), repeated again on 78b, and a small black rectangular seal.

1: Rectangular library seal of Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837), in two stacked cartouches, double-ruled, dated 1244 AH (1828–29 CE), and 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: Rectangular library seal, surmounted by the royal emblem of Awadh, of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847), dotted-ruled and dated 1260 AH (1844–45 CE):
‘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: Library seal, surmounted by the royal emblem Awadh, of Wājid ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1822, r. 1847–1856), single-ruled and dated 1262 AH (1847 CE):
‘ خاتم واجد علی سلطان عالم بر کتاب * ثابت و پر نور بادا تا فروغ آفتاب، ١٢۶۲ ’
Khātim-i Wājid ‘Alī, Sulṭān-i ‘Ālam bar kitāb, s̄abit va pur nūr bādā tā farūgh-i āftāb, 1262’ (‘The seal of Wājid ‘Alī, Sulṭān of the World, upon the book shall be permanent and as bright as sunlight, 1262 AH’).
41 × 26 mm.

5:A large black oval seal impression, intaglio-carved in three stacked lines read from bottom upwards, double-ruled, of a former owner or associate named Farīdūn Khān dated ‘regnal year 13 [of Muḥammad Shāh] (1144 AH/1731–1732 CE)’:
‘فریدون خان خان زاد بادشاه محمد شاه غزی سنه ۱۳’
32 × 44 mm.

Black rectangular seal impression intaglio-carved in two nasta‘līq lines, single-ruled, bears the name of a former library associate, possibly named Nīnkā Bayg Khān, dated 1230 AH (1814–1815 CE) which appears on several other Awadhi manuscripts in Hamilton's collection:
‘ نینکا بیگ خان بندهٔ حسین، ١٢۳۰’
13 × 14 mm.


Origin: Possibly completed by commercial artists in Shiraz probably 16th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously held in the royal library of Awadh in Awadh (Oude), as indicated by dated library notations on folios 1a and 78b, together with seal impressions of the Kings of Awadh Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837), Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847), and Wājid ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1822, r. 1847–1856). 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.

Subsequently augmented and enhanced 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.


    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), cols. 754–755, nos. 1317–1318 [British Library IO Islamic 3141 and 1317].
    D. Forbes, Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Chiefly Persian, Collected Within the Last Five and Thirty years (London: W. H. Allen., 1866), pp. 78–79, no. 244 [Rylands Persian MS 851].
    Jāmī Classic Selections From Some of the Most Esteemed Persian Writers, Vol. 2: Subhutool Abraur Calcutta: Asiatic Lithographic Company Press 1828: pp. 1–75
    Jāmī, Subḥat al-Abrār. Lucknow: Nawal Kishore, Rabī‘ I 1306 (Nov. 1888 CE).
    Jāmī, Mas̲navī-i Haft Awrang Vol. 1, No. 4: Subḥat al-Abrār. Edited by Ḥusayn Aḥmad Tarbiyat (Tehran: Mīrās-i Maktūb, 1378 SH [1999 CE]): pp. 551–700.
    P. Losensky, 'Jāmi i. Life and Works’', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. XIV, Fasc. 5 (2008), pp. 469-475 .
    Charles Rathbone Low, A Memoir of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet J. Wolseley (London: R. Bentley, 1878), pp. 168–169.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 644–646 [British Library Add. 7770/3, &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. 618–619, nos. 897–889 [Bodleian Ouseley 290/5, &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. 168, no. 8.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Persian Heritage Foundation


Comment on this record

Please fill out your details.

How are we using your feedback? See our privacy policy.

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.