Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 534 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An illuminated Safavid-era copy of the Subḥat al-a\Abrār (Rosary of the Pious) the third of seven books in the collection entitled Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) by ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492). A scribe named Faqīr ‘Alī completed this volume in Chawrās (probably Sham Chauras, Punjab), possibly in the 17th 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 ۱۰۷پ (folio 107b): حس مقطع چو بود رسم کهن * چشم کردیم برین نکته سخن | ختم لله لنا بالحسنی * هو مولانا نعم المولی.
Colophon: برگ ۱۰۷پ (folio 107b): تمام شد بعون الله الکریم * در عمل حکومت شیخ عبد الرحیم | سعی این قرطاس * فقیر علی ساکن جوراس.
Colophon: Completed by Faqīr ‘Alī, ‘resident of Chawrās (probably Sham Chauras, Punjab)’.
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this text held in the Rylands see, Persian MS 29, 533, and 851, as well as in the Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) Persian MS 949. For a Būstān of Sa‘dī completed by the same scribe in see Cambridge University Library Add. 204.

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: 106 folios, 5 flyleaves (ff. ii + 106 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 224 × 137 mm.
Dimensions (written): 147 × 73 mm.
Foliation: Hindu-Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides, which omit number 89, hence under by one, referenced for this record.


Primarily quaternions. 11IV(88)1V(98)1IV(107)Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle text with caution. In fairly poor condition, with extensive insect damage, many breaks in the marginal ruling, extensive remargining and other 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 red subheaders.


Headpiece: Folio 1b bears a scalloped domed headpiece at the start of the preface, with palmette foliate scrollwork on a solid gold and ultramarine grounds, above a cartouche to which a later hand added a basmala.
81 × 70 mm.

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, outlines with thin single external and double internal lines, all surrounded by single pale blue lines.

Inscriptions: 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.
Bookplates: The left doublure: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/I’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 451’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘534’ 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. Resewn at two stations, unsupported, with edges trimmed, 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 520, 534, and 539. Title handwritten in nasta‘līq script on the spine in gold.

231 × 140 × 23 mm.

Binding in fair but stable condition, with some exterior insect damage and white salts (spew) due to exposure to moisture on the exterior and interior doublures.


Origin: Faqīr ‘Alī, resident of Chawrās (probably Sham Chauras, Punjab) undated, possibly 17th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

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.


    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 .
    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


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