Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 55 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Anthology of lyric poems culled from the works of roughly forty poets who lived between the eleventh century of the common era and the fifteenth. Khulāṣat al-ash‘ār خلاصة الاشعار

This manuscript is mislabelled as Majālis al-nafā'is in Kerney's handlist and the error is transplanted into B.W. Robinson's catalogue of illustrated manuscripts in the Rylands Library. On f.7a it is stated that the manuscript was compiled by an editor in the time of Mīr ʿAlīshīr, and that the work was completed in the year 929 AH and named Khulāṣat al-ash‘ār. In the text itself, the work is called Khulāṣat al-ash‘ār on f.10b, and it is dated through both through the chronogram "farkhunda" (939) and through the explicit mention of the year 939 on f.11a. [J. White, 2017.]

Incipit: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم مطلع انوار كتاب كريم مخزن اسرار الهيست اين که هر گنج شایسته هست این
Explicit: f.11a تم بالخیر کتبه العبد الفقیر محمد کاتب اللاری سنة ثمان وثلاثين وتسعماية
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Some leaves tinted in blue, greenish or black.
Extent: ff. 233
Dimensions (leaf): 200 × 120 mm.
Dimensions (written): 158 × 95 mm.

European foliation in pencil, including flyleaves, so manuscript begins on folio 9.


Text in text-block and margin. Two columns in text-block, 16 lines per column. With a marginal column written diagonally of 14 lines.


Copied in black ink in a Nasta'liq hand by Muḥammad Kātib al-Lārī.


The manuscript contains ten large illuminated headings, and many smaller ones, alongside eight double-page miniatures and fourteen decorative pages. For a full description of the illuminations, paintings and decoupe pages in the manuscript, see B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980) pp. 158-163

  • f.2a Seal in red wax dated 1224 AH
  • Marginalia f.233b reader’s notes, including date 1199 AH


Red European leather binding on pasteboard. Early nineteenth century.


Origin: Shiraz?; 939 AH (1532 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly part of the collection of the Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865). Bland’s oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.

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. Revised and expanded by James White with reference to the manuscript 2017.


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

The Soudavar Foundation


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