Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 648 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This unfinished and incomplete copy of ʿĀshiq u Maʿshūq (Lover and Beloved), alternatively entitled >Hamīshah Bahār (Eternal Spring), originally composed by Mughal poet Muḥsin Fānī Kashmīrī (d. ca. 1672 CE) in 1051 AH (1641-42 CE). It features a prosimetric allegorical narrative following the adventures of a prince named Buland Akhtar, as he travels through Kashmir and encounters kings, dervishes, fairies, and ogres during his quest in search of the meaning of love. Several large blank areas within the text intended for illustrations remain blank, indicating that the manuscript never saw completion, and the opening, and possibly other folios, now appear regrettably lost.
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): عشق گذاشت
Explicit: برگ ۱۳۳ر (folio 133a): زآنکه هم نام هم نشان فانیست تمت بالخیر نسخه عاشق و معشوق مسمی به همیشه بهار بوقت نیک صورت اتمام پذیرفت
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

Note that in his Lindesiana Library handlist, Micheal Kerney misidentifies this as a copy of Ikhlāṣ Chand's taz̲kira Hamīshah Bahār (Eternal Spring). However, in 2017 James White subsequently correctly identified the main title as ʿĀshiq u Maʿshūq (Lover and Beloved) by Fānī on folio 133a, and a chronogram on folio 132a, top, that equals 1051 AH (1641-42 CE), as the date of the work's completion. Therefore, on the basis of the name, date, and contents, this work can be securely attributed to poet Muḥsin Fānī Kashmīrī (d. ca. 1672 CE). Regrettably, at least the opening, and possibly other folios, now appear missing.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Thin, straight and cross-grained, buff-coloured paper handmade in the Indian subcontinent, with >1mm between laid lines, and no discernible chain lines. Some folios dyed pale pink and peach.
Extent: 133 folios, 4 flyleaves (ff. iii + 133 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 190 × 115 mm.
Dimensions (written): 134 × 63 mm.
Foliation: Foliated with pencilled Arabic numerals by the cataloguer on the upper left of each a side.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout on the lower left corners of the b sides.


Good condition, albeit lacking the initial folio(s), with extensive historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 column with 13 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in black nasta'līq with subheaders and poetic genres in red titles, nasta'līq with shikastah ligatures.

Arabic quotations written in black naskh.

Inscriptions: The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title written in Persian, probably by Muhīn Dās, an assistant to former owner Colonel George William Hamilton. Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/J’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 565’.


Likely rebound in Delhi for former owner George William Hamilton after his appointment as Commisioner in 1863.

Sewn on a single support put down on the inside of the pasteboards, edges trimmed, with twined Islamic-style chevron endbands in green and red silk. Covered in full smooth polished red goatskin leather, with squares and defined joints, but without a flap (type III binding per Déroche).

Spine and board margins dyed black, ‌‌‌with strips of green paper applied as inner margins, tooled with a foliate arabesque design, and ruled with single yellow lines. This same tooled decoration also appears on Rylands Persian MS 572 and 631. A paper label on the spine bears the title ‘ Nuskhah-'i Hamīshah Bahār’.

199 × 126 × 13 mm.

In good condition, albeit tightly bound with restricted opening to the gutter.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; undated, but likely early 19th century.

Provenance and Acquisition

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

Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder of Hamilton's collection 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, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s, concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript correctly identified and described by James White with reference to the volume in 2017.

Record subsequently, corrected, augmented, and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022 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

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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