Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

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

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Dīvān-i Shams-i Tabrīzī, a collection of poems by famed medieval poet Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, 1207-1273. A scribe named Jaykishan Dās completed the volume at the behest of Colonel George William Hamilton on 5 August 1859. The volumes contains a number of variant lines, but includes all of the minor poems, and also bears a delicately illuminated header with similar decoration on the covers.
Editor: Jaykishan Dās جیکشنداس
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 the scribe Jaykishan Dās in Wazirabad, Punjab on 5 August 1859, equivalent to the 23 Sālūn 1916 in the Indian Bikramjit calendar, and 5 Muḥarram 1267 AH for Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868).

The opening differs from most standard editions of the Dīvān and contains many variant verses.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Thin, straight-grained, ivoury-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 (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.


Good condition. Edges unevenly trimmed, with some dog-ears, 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, with marginal ruling in red.


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


Folio 1b bears an illuminated header.


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 with caution: hand-painted surfaces exposed and abraded. Boards yawning.


Origin: Completed in Wazirabad, Punjab; August 5 1859 CE AH, by the scribe Jaykishan Dās for Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868).

Provenance and Acquisition

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


The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader, see Becoming a Reader for details. Please contact uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute


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