Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 58 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This partial copy of the Riyāz̤ al-Shu‘arā’ (Gardens of Poets) by ʻAlī Qulī Khān Vālih (1712–1756) , contains approximately the first half of the work, with entries spanning the letters alif to sīn.
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): تذکره محفل خاطر قدس ماثر صاحبدلان آگاه
Explicit: برگ ۲۴۰ر، اما ۲۵۰ر نشان می‌دهد (folio 240a, mismarked 250a): هم خواست نداند که تو خواهند مایی (sic)
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex

Textblock comprised of two types of European laid handmade paper: the majority a thick, unwatermarked cream-coloured paper with chain lines 25 mm apart with folios 1–136 cross-grained and 137–250 straight-grained.

Extent: 240 folios (ff. vi + 240 + vii).
Dimensions (leaf): 225 × 165 mm.
Dimensions (written): 192 × 115 mm.

Foliation in Hindu-Arabic numerals at the top-left corner of every a side. Folio 2a mismarked ‘1’; however, correct until 188, after which folios marked 199a to 240a marked, so off by 10.


Catchwords on the lower-left b side of nearly every folio.


Excellent condition except folio 5 detached from its repair hinge in the gutter.


Written in 1 column with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Text copied in nasta'liq script in primarily black ink with the names of poets and poetic genres in red.

Table of Contents:
  • Left paste-down, Pencilled list of names of poets and the folios on which they appear, probably in the hand of former owner Nathaniel Bland
  • First right flyleaf a side (f. ia):

    A description of the work in English in an unknown hand written in irongall ink: ‘Tuzkireh-i-Daghistanee Mousoom bu Riazet-oos Shoara Written by Allee Kulee Khan-i-Daghistanee Mutakhalus be Vala, 43 Biographical Notices of the Persian Poets with Selections from their Works.’

  • Final right flyleaf a side (f. via):

    Inscribed ‘Tazkireh-i-Daghistanee by Alee-Koolee-Khan mutakhulus bi Vala-i-Daghistanee. Macan’ by former owner Turner Macan (1792-1836), and another in pencil ‘who quotes this ms in his introdn to the Calcutta edn of Firdusi.’ probably by Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865).

  • Folio 21a (and elsewhere): some textual emendation in another Persian hand.
  • Folio 149a (and elsewhere): English marginal annotations, likely in the hands of former owners Turner Macan and Nathaniel Bland
  • Left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/H’ and ‘Bland MSS No. 68’.


Possibly restored in a European manner in India. Resewn on three sawn-in cords, laced into the pasteboards. Edges ploughed then finely spattered in brownish-red. European-style front-bead decorative endbands sewn in silk threads at head and tail. Recovered in full crimson straight-grained morocco goatskin leather over pasteboards.

Diagonal blind double fillet lines at the corners, in the manner of European half bindings, as well as at head and tail of the spine. Spine titled ‘TUSKIREH I DAGHISTANEE’ in gold.

220 × 157 × 16 mm.

Binding in fair condition, with surface abrasion.


Origin: Location not indicated, but probably India; undated, but likely late 18th to early 19th century.

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned by Turner Macan (1792-1836), Persian translator for the British East India Company, and instructor at Fort William College, who published the first critical edition of the Shāhnāmah of Firdawsī in 1829. After his death, London bookseller R. H. Evans (1778–1857) sold a portion of his library on 1 Dec. 1838, where Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) purchased it.

After Bland's death, London Bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866.

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, 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 James White in 2017 with reference to the volume in hand.

Further amended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2021 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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


    Nathaniel Bland, 'On the earliest Persian Biography of Poets, by Muhammad Aúfi, and on some other Works of the class called Tazkirat ul Shuârá', Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. IX. (1848): pp. 143–147, no. VII.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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