Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 88 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A copy of the Bahār-i Dānish (Spring of Wisdom) authored by ʻInāyat Allāh (d. ca. 1671) in 1061 AH (1651 CE) during the reign of the Mughal ruler Shāh Jahān (1592–1666, r. 1626–1658), relates the romantic adventures of Jahāndār Sulṭān and Bahravar Bānū, which serves as a frame story interwoven with other tales. One of six copies held in the Rylands, this redaction contains a preface by the author's younger brother and pupil Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ followed by the author's own introduction in which he explains how he adapted the tale from one that he heard a young Brahmin recite. An unidentified scribe completed this volume, probably in the Indian subcontinent on 14 Zī-al-Qa‘dah 1230 AH (18 Oct. 1815).
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): فاتحه کتاب مستطاب افرینش و پیرایهٔ صحیفهٔ دانش و بینش حمد خداوند خردبخش سخن آفرین و صورت نمای معنی ایجاد و تکوین است که بر لطایف ابداع و صنایع اختراع قدرت کامله پس از ماهتاب...
Explicit: برگ ۲۰۹ر (folio 209a): سیه کاری مکن چون خامهٔ خویش * بشو از چشم بر خون نامه‌ٔ خویش | زبان را گوشمالی خاموشی ده * که هست از هرچه کوئی خاموشی به.
Colophon: برگ ۲۰۹ ر (folio 209a): الحمد لله که از نگارش ریاحین الفاظ این بهار دانش و گلزار معانی از آغاز تا انجام فراغ یافت. تمام شد کار من نظام شد هذا الکتاب مسمی نسخه بهار دانش من تصنیف شیخ عنایت الله بروز دوشنبه وقت سه ۳ بانس(؟) و تاریخ چهار دهم شهر ذیقعده سنه ۱۲۳۰ بحجرت النبویه صلی الله علی و سلم مطابق سیزدهم ماه بهالون(؟) فی سنه ۱۲۲ بنگله کتاب هذا مرتب گردیده.
Colophon: Completed on 14 Zī-al-Qa‘dah 1230 AH (18 Oct. 1815)
Language(s): Persian

S. H. Qasemi documents 244 manuscripts and printed editions of this work. C. A. Storey also notes various manuscripts and translations into English, German, French, Turkish, and Urdu. For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 199, 463, 919, 991, and 1017. For a glossary of terms found in this work entitled Rang-i Bahār by ‘Abd al-Bāqī, see Persian MS 477.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of straight-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~10 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 209 folios, 4 flyleaves (ff. ii + 209 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 316 × 218 mm.
Dimensions (written): 243 × 124 mm.
Foliation: Modern Arabic numerals pencilled on the upper-left corners of the a sides.


Undetermined, but probably primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle text with caution. In fair condition, with insect damage in the gutters and edges.


Written in 1 column with 21 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.

Inscription: The second right flyleaf a side (f. iia) bears the title in Latin script written twice, underneath the number ‘87’


Probably rebound a hybrid British-Indian style in the Indian subcontinent.

Resewn at five stations on 4 recessed cords (the middle one omitted), laced into pasteboards. Edges trimmed and spattered, but endbands omitted. Endpapers of a heavy, flocked wove paper, with an earlier British-made laid paper with ~10 laid lines per cm and 28 millimeters between laid lines, with prominent watermarks of a crest with a fleur-de-lis, surmounted by a crown, with the initials ‘CW’ underneath , probably manufactured by Charles Willmott (fl. 1790s) at the Sundridge Mill, Kent. 162 × 80 mm. . Covered in full crimson goatskin leather.

Spine titled in gold ‘BAHAR DANISH MS’, likely added to the spine for former owner Alexander Lindsay.

321 × 222 × 38 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, with extensive abrasion along the edges, peeling grain layer (revealing marbled paper underneath, hence original boards probably recovered), and boards yawning at the fore-edge. Boxed.


Origin: Probably completed by an unidentified scribe in the Indian subcontinent; 14 Zī-al-Qa‘dah 1230 AH (18 Oct. 1815).

Provenance and Acquisition

The circumstances by which this volume arrived in Britain remain unclear, but scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) subsequently acquired it, after whose 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, concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description 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.


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Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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