Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 839 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This manuscript of the Dīvān-i Anvarī, also described as a Kullīyāt (complete works) in the colophon, composed by Awhad ad-Din 'Ali, (ca. 1126–1189), pen-named Anvārī, compiles the author's known poems, opening with his odes (qaṣā'id, and closes with quatrains (rubā‘īyāt), albeit arranged differently from other volumes. However, the final poem in the volume appears ascribed elsewhere to his contemporary, Mahsatī Ganjavī (fl. 12th c.). The author studied both science and literature and grew equaly famous as an astronomer as well as a poet during the Seljuq period. Clearly written, and opening with an illuminated header, the volume contains many notes that reflect the engagement of prior readers with the text. A scribe named Ḥasan bin Muḥammad bin Mas‘ūd al-Sharīf not only completed the volume in 28 Ramaz̤ān 1023 AH (1 Nov. 1614 CE), probably in Safavid Empire, but also impressed his oval seal beside the colophon, as well as many notes and comments.
Scribe: Ḥasan bin Muḥammad bin Mas‘ūd al-Sharīf;
حسن بن محمد بن مسعود الشریف
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): باز این چه جوانی و جمالست جهان را * وین حال که نو گشت زمین را و زمان را.
Explicit: برگ ۳۱۰ر (folio 310a): تا کی ز غم تو رخ به خون شوید دل * و آزرم جفای تو به بجان جوید دل | بخشای آر کز آسمان نمی‌بارد جان * رحم آر که از زمین نمی‌روید دل

This final quatrain appears ascribed to another Seljuq-era female poet, Mahsatī-i Ganjavī (fl. 12th c.).

Colophon: برگ ۳۱۰ر (folio 310a): تمت الکلیات من کلام افضل المتکلمین حکیم اوحد الدین انوری بعون الله تعالی و حسن توفیقه فی تاثامن والعشرین من شهر رمضان المبارک سنه ۱۰۲۳ من الهجریه علی ید الفقیر للی لله العبود حسن بن محمد بن مسعود الشریف عفی الله تعالی عنهم کرم النبی والوصی والهما الموفین العبود.
Colophon: Completed by Ḥasan bin Muḥammad bin Mas‘ūd al-Sharīf on 28 Ramaz̤ān 1023 AH (1 Nov. 1614 CE).
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this poet's works held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 111, 277, and 524

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, heavily flocked externally sized and polished, buff-coloured paper probably handmade in the the Safavid Empire with ~7 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Dimensions (leaf): 240 × 125 mm.
Dimensions (written): 168 × 70 mm.
Foliation: Pencilled Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides when catalogued.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


In fair condition, with moderate water and insect damage and historical repairs throughout.


Written in 2 columns with 20 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.


Illumination: Folio 1b bears a scalloped domed headpiece with gilt palmette foliate scrollwork on an ultramarine ground and an inscribed central cartouche undeneath:
‘قصاید حکیم انواری’
84 × 70 mm.

Ruling: Folios 2b onward ruled in gold outlined with single internal and double external thin black lines, and surrounded by comparatively bold, dark blue single lines. Folio 2a bears the same only with an added green, outlined with internal double thin lines, as well as surrounding bold red and blue external lines.

Marginalia: Many notes in the margins throughout, possibly in the hands of the scribe Ḥasan bin Muḥammad bin Mas‘ūd and other former owners.
  • The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears ‘D.F. 68’ and a price of ‘£3.13.6’, both pertaining to Forbe's catalogue.
  • Folios 1a autographed by former owner Edward Galley, next to his seal impression (no. 1), dated 1786, when he served in Bandar-i Būshahr (Bushire).
  • Folio 310a bears an autographed notation by former owner Muḥammad Ja‘far al-Mawṣūlī next to his seal impression (no. 3).
  • Folio 310b bears an autographed notation by the scribe, Ḥasan bin Muḥammad bin Mas‘ūd, dated the same year that he completed the volume, together with his seal impression (no. 2), in which he describes the circumstances under which he copied it, along with other passages in his hand.
  • Folio 311b signed four times by former owner or associate Ghulām Shāh Dīn Aḥmad in several script styles.
  • The left board interior bears ‘Nº 20’ above a pasted unsigned note in English that describes the volume:
    The elegies of
    Hakim Anwary,
    a highly celebreated
    poet who died
    A. D. 1200’, with a pencilled number ‘622’ written on the upper-right corner.
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/F’, and white label bearing an earlier Lindesiana class mark ‘Persian MSS No. 45’, with the number crossed out and ‘839’ written aside.


Possibly rebound for a former owner in an amateur European manner, possibly Edward Galley (ca. 1750–1804), possibly in either Bandar-i Būshahr (Bushire) or Surat.

Textblock repaired and thin-weight, cross-grained eggshell-coloured endpapers, with ~9 laid lines per mm and no discernible chain lines, added at the beginning and end. Resewn on three cord supports, laced into pasteboards. Edges roughly hand-trimmed with pre-manufactured hand-stitched European-style front-bead endbands adhered at head and tail. Covered in full, smooth, medium-brown goatskin leather, with three raised bands on the spine, with .

The binding bears no decoration other than rectangular labels applied to the right board exterior and the second spine panel from the top bears the title in Persian, the former in handwritten nasta‘līq, the latter in naskh script cut out from a printed catalogue.

249 × 136 × 46 mm.

Handle with caution. Binding in fair but stable condition, with with external wear, breaking internal joints, and several breaks in the sewing.

Three types of black oval seal impressions, all intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script:

1: Folio 1a bears a small legible seal impression of former owner Edward Galley in one line, undated, double-ruled:
‘ادورد گلی’
9 × 14 mm.

2: Folios 310a–b bear a small legible seal impression of the scribe Ḥasan bin Muḥammad bin Mas‘ūd in three stacked lines, read from the middle upwards then bottom, undated, single-ruled:
‘حسن بن محمد بن مسعود’
10 × 14 mm.

3: Folio 310a bears a partly legible seal impression of a former owner named Muḥammad Ja‘far al-Mawṣūlī in three stacked lines, read from bottom upwards, possibly dated 1166 AH (1752–1753), double-ruled:
‘عبده محمد جعفر الموصولی...(؟)، ۱۱۶۶ (؟)’
15 × 20 mm.


Origin: Completed by Ḥasan bin Muḥammad bin Mas‘ūd, possibly in the Safavid Empire 28 Ramaz̤ān 1023 AH (1 Nov. 1614 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Signed by possible former owner or associate named Ghulām Shāh Dīn Aḥmad folio 311b.

Signed by former Muḥammad Ja‘far al-Mawṣūlī on 310a, by the colophon, adjacent to his seal impression.

Evidently acquired by Edward Galley (ca. 1750–1804), East India Company Resident at Bandar-i Būshahr (Bushehr) in 1786. Ultimately Collector-General of Surat, India where he passed away, Galley's executors subsequently sold his library there; however, the identity of the purchaser and circumstances of this volume's arrival in Britain remain unclear (see Robinson, p. 209).

Probably the same manuscript listed by London bookseller Henry George Bohn (1796–1884) in his 1841 catalogue, no. 13619, described as ‘The Odes of Anvary, long bvo. on 622 pages, a neat Persian Manuscript of a rare work, written on glazed paper, and ruled: native binding 1l 11s 6d.’

Probably purchased from Bohn by King's College Professor of Oriental Languages Duncan Forbes (1798–1868), who also evidently purchased Persian MS 843 as advertized by Bohn in the same catalogue. Forbes later described the volume in his 1866 catalogue (p. 24, no. 68), valued at £3 11s 6d, before he sold his manuscript collection to his publisher W. H. Allen & Co. in exchange for an annuity. Subsequently sold by that firm 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, Manchester.

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 description by Jake Benson in 2023 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.


    F. du Blois, Persian Literature a Bio-Bibliographical Survey : Poetry of the Pre-Mongol Period, Vol. V, 2nd ed. (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), pp. 220–227, no. 170 [Anvārī]; 340–341, no. 235 [Mahsatī Ganjavī].
    Henry G. Bohn, A Catalogue of Books (London, Bohn, 1841), p. 1153, no. 13619.
    J. T. P. de Bruijn, 'Anwārī', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. II, Fasc. 2 (1987), pp. 141–143.
    J.T.P de Bruijn, 'Mahsatī', Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition Vol. 6. (1986), pp. 85–96.
    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office, Vol. 1 (London: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903), cols. 582–588, nos. 935–949, [British Library IO Islamic 2677, &c.].
    D. Forbes, Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Chiefly Persian, Collected Within the Last Five and Thirty years (London: W. H. Allen., 1866), p. 24, no. 68.
    D. Meneghini 'Saljuqs V: Saljuqid Literature' Encyclopædia Iranica Online, (2020).
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 554–555 [British Library Add. Add. 25019, &c.].
    B. W. Robinson, 'R.A.S. MS 178: An Unrecorded Persian Painter'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 2 (1970): p. 209.
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), cols. 471–477, no. 543–556 [Bodleian Ms. Laud Or. 133, &c.].

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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