Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 572 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The Pandnāmah (Book of Advice), or Karīmā (O Merciful!), a highly-popular book of ethical exhortations and sage advice that while erroneously attributed to Saʻdī (d. 1292), enjoyed broad circulation since at least 150 years after his death. Renowned Delhi scribe Sayyid Abū’l-Ḥasan Raz̤avī (fl. late 18th-early 19th c.), known as 'Mīr Kallan', a leading student of master calligrapher Muḥamamd Ḥafīẓ Khān (d. 1780) completed this small volume in 1800. Featuring elaborately illuminated opening pages, a stationer-copyist replaced four missing folios before rebinding it in a hybrid British-Indian style.
Author and Dubious author: Saʻdī سعدى
Title: Karīmā
Title: کریما
Scribe: Sayyid Abū-l-Ḥasan Raz̤avī سید ابو الحسن رضوی , known as Mīr Kallan میر کَلَّن
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): کریما ببخشای بر حال ما * که هستیم اسیر کمند هوا
Explicit: برگ ۱٧پ (folio 17b): منه دل برین دهر ناپایدار * ز سعدی همین یک سخن گوشدار
Colophon: برگه‌های ۱۷پ-۱۸ر (folio 17b–18a): برگهای ۱۷پ-۱۸ر: بتاریخ چهارم شهر ربیع الثانی سنه ۱۲۱۵ یکهزار و دوصد و پانزده هجرة النبی صلی الله علیه وآله و اصحاب المرصلین االکاتب سید ابو الحسن رضوی عرف میر کَلَّن [برگ ۱۸ر] غفر الله تعالی ذنوبه و ستر عیوبه مطابق سنه۴۲ چهل و دویم جلوس ممنت مانوس ابو المظفر محمد شاه عالم پادشاه غازی خلد لله ملکهه سلطانه.
Colophon: Completed by Sayyid Abū al-Ḥasan Raz̤avī, known as 'Mīr Kallan', probably in Delhi, India on 4 Rabi' II 1215 AH (25 August 1800 CE), equal to the 42nd regnal year of Shāh ʻĀlam II (1728-1806), Emperor of Hindustan (1760–1806).
Language(s): Persian

Francis Gladwin (1744/5–1812) first translated it into English in 1788 intended as a textbook to instruct British civil servants of the East India Company in Persian. The final two lines differ from his edition, as does the final word in Arthur Wollaston's (1842–1922) 1908 version, as noted by G. M. Wickens (1918–2006) in the introduction of his translation. The scribe, Sayyid Abū al-Ḥasan Raz̤avī, known as 'Mīr Kallan' emigrated from Iran to India with his family, where he trained in Delhi under his master Muḥammad Ḥafīẓ Khān (d. 1779–80) (see Haft Qalamī Dihlavī).

Physical Description

Form: codex

The textblock contains two types of laid paper, probably handmade in India; with the majority of the text written on a medium-weight paper, and conjugate folios 3 and 7 as well as 12 and 16 replaced with a comparatively thin, externally sized, and highly polished sheets.

Extent: 18 folios, 4 flyleaves (ff. ii + 18 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 161 × 101 mm.
Dimensions (written): 105 × 57 mm.

Foliation marked at top-centre of the a sides in Hindu-Arabic numerals.


1IV(8)1V(18). Two sections: a quaternion and quinternion.

Catchwords inscribed at the lower left corners of the b sides throughout.


Handle with caution: extensive repairs to the gutters and lower margins of the text after apparent water damage. The first and last folios are heavily tipped to the flyleaves in the gutter and so do not open flat. Green verdigris marginal rulings on folios 5a–b, 6a–b, and 8a–11b, and 13b breaking half way down the gutter margins.


Written in 2 columns, with 7 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


The majority of the text written in black nasta‘līq, in a comparatively heavy hand by by Sayyid Abū al-Ḥasan Raz̤avī, known as known as ''Mīr Kallan' with basmallah in blue, and chapter headings in red.

Replaced folios conjugate folios 3 and 7 as well as 12 and 16 copied in a different, refined black nasta‘līq hand, with chapter headings in red.


Carpet Pages: A fully illuminated double-page opening on folios 1b to 2a appears executed in the early nineteenth century but recalls earlier sixteenth-century Persianate styles. Subsequent partial over-painting and re-drawing, over the gutters.

Headpiece: A prominent headpiece (sarlawḥ) above the title on folio 1b bears polychrome floral scrollwork, outlined and surmounted by small vertical radiant lines in blue and abutted by a strapwork chain in gold and blue outlined in bright green and an oxidised dark red lead.

Line Fill: Initial chapter headings set between pairs of gold floral scrollwork on a blue ground accentuated by dark red dots, and together with the couplets (the basmalla excepted) set within outlined cloud-band reserves set against a gold ground, with the gilding accentuated by tiny interstitial punched dots set within a surrounding border of lobed blue half-medallions with palmette scrolls over a gold ground.

Ruling: Vertical column dividers and horizontal section breaks ruled in thin gold outlined in thin single black lines. Surrounding marginal ruling in comparatively thick gold, outlined with a single black interior line, double black exterior lines, bounded by thick lines in red and indigo.



  • Folio iia

    ‘از سعدی’

    Az Saʻdī’ (‘From Saʻdī.’).

  • Folio 1a

    ‘نام کریما اصغر علی’

    Nām-i Karīmā, Aṣghar ‘Alī ’ (‘Entitled Karīmā [belonging to] Aṣghar ‘Alī’).

The left paste-down: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘F/9’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 489’.


Evidently rebound in Delhi in a hybrid British-Indian style for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton after 1863 when he served there as Commissioner.

Resewn at three stations. Flyleaves of mould-made paper watermarked with a lion clutching a shield emblazoned with the St George's Cross dated 1863. Edges trimmed. Covered in full green, British-manufactured, straight-grained morocco goatskin leather over pasteboards, with squares along the edges and without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche), with British-made Spanish waved dark blue shell patterned marbled paper pastedowns.

Board exteriors embellished with coated medium-green paper strips to form three decorative margins, tooled directly to the book with insular dots on the narrower borders and a foliate design on the wider one, further outlined with single ruling in yellow. The same marginal decoration appears on Persian MS 631.

107 × 109 × 9 mm.

Handle binding with caution. Right board separated from the textblock.


Folio 18a, underneath the colophon bears a black rectangular seal impression, intaglio-carved in two stacked lines in nasta‘līq script with the name of former owner Muḥammad Valī Khān محمد ولی خان

13 × 15 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in Delhi; in 4 Rabi' II 1215 AH (25 Aug. 1800 CE) by Sayyid Abū’l-Ḥasan Raz̤avī, known as 'Mīr Kallan', as per the colophon on folios 17b to 18a.

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by Muḥammad Valī Khān (seal impression, folio 18a), and also one Aṣghar ‘Alī (mentioned on folio 1a).

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner in Delhi. During his tenure, he acquired over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts. After his death, the British Museum selected 352 volumes now held in the British Library.

In 1868, Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder.

Subsequently purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands in 1908 to the John Rylands Library.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the volume.


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)


    Francis Gladwin, "The Pundnameh of Sady" in The Persian Moonshee. (Calcutta: Chronicle Press, 1795), pp. 101–142.
    Ghulām Muḥammad Haft Qalamī Dihlavī, Tad̲h̲kira-i-k̲h̲us̲h̲navīsān of Mawlānā G̲h̲ulām Muḥammad Dihlavī. Edited by M. Hidayet Husain. (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal) 1910), p. 70.
    ‘Ārif Nawshāhī, Fihrist-i Nuskha'hā-yi Khaṭṭī-yi Fārsī-yi Pākistān (Fihrist-i 8000 Nuskha-yi Khatti-yi Kitabkhānah'hā-yi Shakhsī va Dawlatī), Vol. 3 (Tehran: Mīrās̱-i Maktūb, 1396 SH [2017 CE]), pp. 1786–1788.
    M. H. Razvi and M. H. Qaisar, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Maulana Azad Library, Vol. V, pt. i: Poetry. (Aligarh: Aligarh Muslim University, 1981), pp. 49–50, no. 67.
    Charles Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II. (London: British Museum, 1879), p. 865b.
    M. Nazif Sharani, 'Local Knowledge of Islam and Social Discourse in Afghanistan and Turkistan in the Modern Period,' Turko-Persia in Historical Perspective. Edited by Robert Canfield (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 171–172, 185 n10.
    G. M. Wickens, 'Sadi's Pandnama: A New English Version with Notes', in Annals of Oriental Research (Madras), Centenary Issue, Vol. 13. (1957): pp. 1–26.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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