Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 539 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The Dīvān-i Shams-i Tabrīzī (Dīvān of Shams of Tabriz, also known as the Dīvān-i Kabīr, of 'Large Dīvān') contains primarily ghazal lyric poems by famed medieval poet Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1207–1273) named in honour of his friend, Shams Tabrizī (d. 1247), whom he frequently invokes in place of his own pen name in the final lines. Jaykishan Dās (1832–1905), who subsequently participated in the Aligarh educational reform movement and ultimately served as secretary then co-President of the Scientific Society, completed this large volume in Wazirabad, Punjab at the behest of Colonel George William Hamilton on 5 August 1859. The text appears to include all of the minor poems; however, many feature variant lines in comparison with critical editions. This volume also bears a delicately illuminated headpiece with similar floral decoration painted on the exterior covers.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الحمد الله [لله] الذي قواته اللذ ل * الماجد الفرد الذي غفرانه بمجو الذلل
Explicit: برگ ۳۹۴پ (folio 394b): جان میخواهد نمیدهم روزی چند * در جان سخنی نیست تقاضاتش خوش است.
Colophon: برگ ۳۹۴پ (folio 394b): نوعیت احتشام پذیرفت و صورت اتمام گرفتاین نسخه متبرکه مسمی به دیوان شمس تبریزی مصنف حضرت شمس الدین صاحب بتریزیعلیه الرّحمت حسب الحکم جناب فلک قباب خداوند نعمت فیاض عالم و عالمیان خاتم دورن نوشیردان زمان قدردان افضل الفضلا اکمل الکملا دارا شکوه حق پژوه دانش پرور کرم گشتخ لفتین کرنیل جارج ولیم هملتین صاحب بهاد[ر] کمشنر و سپرندنت ادام الله اقباله و ذی جلاله بذریت عنایات علامه عصر نشین متجر فضلیت پناه خدا اگاه محسن اخلاق برگزیده آفاق نشی از شاد علیصاحب سر ثنیه(؟) دار کمشنری بید حقیر پر تقصیر بنده جیکشنداس و له لاله پر کند(؟) قوم کهتری پهوتی ساکن وزیرآباد سه ضلع کوج انوابه کمشنری قسمت لاهور چشمداشت از ناظران این نسخه غریبه اینست که اگر سهونی یا خطائی رونما شود ید امن الطاف بپوشیدند فقط تمام نشد. من نوشتم آنچه دیدمدر کتاب مشتر والله اعلم بالصواب تحریر بتاریخ ۵، ماه اگشت سنه ۱۸۵۹ عیسوی مطابق ۲۳ ماه سالون سنه ۱۹۱۶ بکرماجتی و ه ماه محرم سنه ۱۲۷۶ هجری فقط.
Colophon: Completed by Jaykishan Dās for Colonel George William Hamilton in Wazirabad, Punjab on 5 August 1859, equivalent to 23 Sālūn 1916 VS, and 5 Muḥarram 1267 AH.

The opening differs from most standard editions of the Dīvān and contains many variant verses. The scribe, Jaykishan Dās, later co-founded the Scientific Society with Hamilton and Sayyid Aḥmad KHān in 1864. He ultimately received the titles of Rājah and Bahādur. See

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Thin, straight-grained, ivory-coloured handmade paper from India with ~ 1 mm between laid lines and few discernible chain lines, sized and highly polished. Endpapers of the same paper stock, sewn together with the textblock.
Extent: 395 folios, 7 flyleaves (ff. iv + 395 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 219 mm.
Dimensions (written): 209 × 118 mm.
Foliation: Foliated with pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides when catalogued.


Primarily quaternions throughout. 1III+2(8)30IV(248)21III(254)18IV(vii). Catchwords throughout on the lower left corners of the b sides.


Text in very good condition condition. Edges unevenly trimmed, with some dog-eared corners, and a long, scarfed, leading tear on the fore-edge of folio 222 and another tear, previously repaired, but now delaminating on folio 318.


Written in 2 columns with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written primarly in nasta‘līq script in black with subheaders in red.


Headpiece: Folio 1b bears an illuminated header.

Marginal ruling in red throughout.


Probably rebound in a British-Indian hydrid style in Multan for Colonel George William Hamilton.

Unsupported sewing at two stations with heavy s-twist cotton or linen thread. Twined chevron endbands at head and tail in yellow and red silk with what appears to be tarnished silver silk threads. Covered in full smooth maroon goatskin leather ovr pasteboards without a flap (type III binding as per Déroche), with internal doublures of the same goatskin leather as used on the exterior, with the excess width put down as leather hinges on the first and last flyleaves, then covered by a strip of paper with a decorative zig-zag cut adhered over the hinges.

Covers decorated with hand-painted bushed bearing a variety of flowers in different colours, outlined in black and gold inks, with hand=painted sprays in the corners and the perimeters of the boards bounded by a wide ruling in black decorated with a scrollwork vine in gold ink. Spine hand-lettered in yellow ink with the title of the work in Persian:
‘دیوان شمس تبریزی’
‘Dīvān-i Shams-i Tabrīzī’

347 × 220 × 60 mm.

Handle binding with caution. Hand-painted surfaces exposed and abraded. Boards yawning.


Origin: Completed by Jaykishan Dās for Colonel George William Hamilton in Wazirabad, Punjab; 5 Aug. 1859 CE AH.

Provenance and Acquisition

From the collection of Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in the India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner Delhi.

He collected over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts from which the British Museum selected 352 after his death, now held in the British Library.

Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) then purchased the remainder 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. Identification of provenance based on manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s.

Dating information from Kerney, Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 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).


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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