Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 795 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An unidentified Mughal-era scribe completed this manuscript of the Mas̲navī-i Ma‘navī (Spiritual Couplets) by Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī on 2 Ẕū-al-Qa‘dah 'in the 32nd year the Emperor ‘Alamgīr's reign' (1199 AH, 29 Aug. 1688 CE).
Incipit: (beginning) :(folio 1b) برگ ۱پ بشنو از نی چون حکایت میکند * و ز جدأیها شکایت میکند
Language(s): Persian
Explicit: برگ ۲۸۸ر (folio 288a): قصه کوته کن یک دلهای کباب * ختم کن و الله اعلم بالصواب
Colophon: برگ ۲۸۸ر (folio 288a): تمام شد مثنوی مولوی معنوی بتاریخ دویم شهر ذو القعد سنه ۳۲ جلوس حضرت بادشاه عالمگیر سنه
Colophon: Signed twice by the scribe at the end of book five 235b in 1098 AH (1686–87 CE), and again on 2 Ẕū-al-Qa‘dah 'in the 32nd year the Emperor ‘Alamgīr's reign' (1199 AH, 29 Aug. 1688 CE).

Note that since another hand wrote ‘1101 AH’, prior handlists and records provide this incorrect date for the volume's completion.

For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 17, 21, 72, 213, 236, 250–255 (Books I–VI), 847, 848, 926, 983 (Book I), and 984, the last being the earliest, completed in 9 Muḥarram 758 AH (2 January 1357 CE), about 85 years after the author first composed it. For critical editions, see Isti‘lāmī and Furūzānfar. For a recent English translation of the first two books based on the former edition, see Williams. For earlier translations, see Arberry, Nicholson, and Whinfield.

Title: Book One
Title: دفتر الاوّل
Title: Daftar-i Avval
Title: Book Two
Title: دفتر دوّم
Title: Daftar-i Duvvum
Title: Book Three
Title: دفتر ثالث
Title: Daftar-i S̱ālis̱
Title: Book Four
Title: دفتر چهادم
Title: Daftar-i Chahārum
Title: Book Five
Title: دفتر خامس
Title: Daftar-i Khāmis
Title: Book Six
Title: مجلد شیشم
Title: Mujallad-i Shīshum

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Written on medium-weight, straw coloured, cross-grained, lightly externally sized and polished paper, probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent, with ~1.5 mm. between laid lines and few disciernible chain lines.
Extent: 287 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 287 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 281 × 185 mm.
Dimensions (written): 203 × 122 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in black Hindu-Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides that omit folio number 90.


Primarily quaternions throughout, although later repairs altered the quires. Catchwords present at the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle with caution. In fair condition, with repairs to the fore-edge and gutters.


Written in 1 to 4 columns with 25 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Primarily written in black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.

  • The right flyleaf b side (f. ib) bears the number ‘377’
  • The left flyleaf b side (f. iib) bears the initials ‘H. H. W.’ of former owner Horace Hayman Wilson with another note in the hand of Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford pencilled underneath:

    ‘Djelal ud-deen, written AH 1101 AD 1689. (from Mr. Horace Hayman Wilson's Libr.)
    576 pp. £3-3-0’

Bookplates: left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘1/D’, and an earlier Lindesiana label ‘Persian MS 795’ with the numbers ‘1’ and ‘9’ crossed out.


Resewn on five recessed cords, with European-style front bead decorative endbands in yellow and red silk threads at head and tail. Rebound in half calfskin leather with Shell-patterned marbled paper sides. Endpapers watermarked with an heart-shaped East India Company insignia, dated 1820 ( 106 × 57 mm. ) and countermarked ‘J Whatman Balston & Co. 1820’, manufactured by William Balston, (1759–1849) in Maidstone, Kent.

Surviving spine fragments palleted with quatrefoil decorative roll with double fillet lines either side, with single fillet lines on the boards.

287 × 194 × 41 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In poor condition, with the spine especially deteriorated and delaminated, and abrasion to the decoration on the exterior covers, and degraded leather applied to the spine. Boxed.

Two rectangular black Anglo-Persian seal impressions, intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script, stacked in three lines against a floral ground, double-ruled, with the name of former owner Charles Boddam (1762–1811), appear on folios 1a and 288a:

‘ امیر الدوله عماد الملک چارلس بادم بهادر مظفر جنگ ۱۲۰۰ ’ Amīr al-Dawlah ‘Imād al-Mulk Chārils Bādam Bahādur Muẓaffar Jang, 1200 13 × 18 mm.

Accompanying Material

Leather spine fragments placed in an archival envelope. Small handwritten note inserted within the volume.


Origin: Completed in the Mughal Empire; 2 Ẕū-al-Qa‘dah ‘in the 32nd year the Emperor ‘Alamgīr's reign’ (1199 AH, 29 Aug. 1688 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned by East India company magistrate Charles Boddam (1762–1811), as per his Anglo-Persian seal impressions on folios 1a and 288a.

Subsequently acquired by orientalist and University of Oxford Professor of Sanskrit Horace Hayman Wilson (1786–1860).

After Wilson's death, the London firm of Sotheby and Wilson sold his library on 28–31 Jan, 1861; however, this volume does not appear in that catalogue. It seems that bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) acquired it privately together with several other Hayman manuscripts, then sold them to to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880), on 19 March 1863.

Subsequently 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, and in consultation with Dr Ursula Sims-Williams (Lead Curator for Persian, British Library) regarding Boddam's seal impression.


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


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