Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 90 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts

Two titles on unrelated subjects, likely completed in North India on 29 Ramaz̤ān 1201 AH (29 July 1787 CE).


Summary of Contents: Timurid-era poet ‘Abd al-Raḥman Jāmī (1414-1492), originally composed the first work, the Bahāristān (Spring Garden) in 892 AH (1486 CE). Modelled upon the Gulistān (Rose Garden) of Saʻdī, he divided it into eight chapters or 'gardens' (rawz̤ah) devoted to Sufi saints and philosophers, the topics of justice, generosity, love, and comedy, as well as a highly esteemed section on poetic literature, and the last regarding animals. The second work, a compilation of missives, bears the title Ruqaʻāt-i ʻĀlamgīrī (Letters of ʻĀlamgīr) on the outer cover, ascribed to the Mughal emperor ‘Ālamgīr I (r. 1618–1707). However, the colophon identifies it as another variant compilation of enigmatic expressions entitled the Ramz va Īshārah-'i ʻĀlamgīrī (Intimations and Allusions of ‘Ālamgīr) originally assembled by the a scribe named either Budh Mal Rām (or Subudh Mal Rām), for his patron, Rājah Ayā Māl Khatrī (d. 1748), a widely admired diplomat and minister to Mahārājah Ishvārī Singh (b. 1721, r. 1743–1750), ruler of Amber Kingdom at Jaipur. Primarily comprised of enigmatic phrases in missives addressed to ‘Alamgir's sons Muḥammad ‘Aẓam (1653–1707) and Muḥammad Mu‘aẓẓam (later Bahādur Shāh I, b. 1643, r. 1707–1712), this copy appears incomplete and ends with lines that he composed on the execution of his eldest brother and rival, Dara Shikoh (1615–1659).
1. folios 1b-36a
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): چو مرغ امر ذی بالی ز آغاز * نه از نیروی حمد آید به پرواز
Explicit: برگ ۳۶پ (folio 36b): بوقت شد آخر که تاریخ هجرت * شود نهصداز هشت بروی فزایی
Colophon: برگ ۳۶پ (folio 36b): تمت هذا الکتاب بهارستان تصنیف مولوی جامی
Language(s): Persian


E. G. Browne, A History of Persian Literature Vol. 3. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920), p. 515.
Jāmī, Der frühlingsgarten. Edited and translated by Ottokar-Maria von Schlechta-Wssehrd. Wien: Kaiserlich-königlichen hof- und staats-druckerei, 1846.
Jāmī, The Behâristân (Abode of Spring) by Jâmi: A Literal Translation from the Persian. [Translated by Edward Rehatsek]. Benares: Kama Shastra Society, 1887.
Jāmī, The Behàristan-i-Jàmi, or Abode of Spring by Jàmi. Translated by Sorabji Fardunji Mulla. Bombay: Meher Printing Works, 1899.
Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1968), p. 287.
G. M. Wickens, “Bahārestān (1)” in Encyclopædia Iranica Vol. 3, Fasc. 5. (1988): pp. 479–480.
2. folios 38b–70a
Title: Ruqaʻāt-i ʻĀlamgīrī
Title: رقعات عالمگیری
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۳۸پ (folio 38b): تهمید نگارش کلام* و تسوید گزار مرام
Explicit: برگ ۷۰ر (folio 70a): جواب حضرت عالمگیر بر حاشیه رقعه * الآن و قد عصیت قبل و کنت من المسندین
Colophon: برگ ۷۰ر (folio 70a): تمام شد رساله رمز و اشارهٔ عالمگیری خسب الارشاد بندگان تواب صاحب و قبله دو جهان وام عمره و اقباله بتاریخ بیست و نهم شهر رمضان المبارک سنهاحد
Colophon: Completed in 29 Ramaz̤ān [120]1 AH (29 July 1787 CE)..
Language(s): Persian


Aurangzeb [‘Ālamgīr], Ruka'at-i-Alamgiri ; or, Letters of Aurungzebe (with historical and explanatory notes). Translated by Jamshid H. Bilimoria. London: Luzac & Co., 1908.
H. M. Elliot and John Dowson, The History of India, As Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, Vol. VII (London: Trübner & Co., 1877), pp. 203–206, no. LXXVIII.
Eduard Sachau and Hermann Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), pp. 131–132, no. 252.
D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey, vol. I (New Dehli: Asia Publishing House, 1967), p. 89, no. 283 (v) .

Physical Description

Form: codex

Textblock comprised of two types of paper, both handmade in Britain. The first bears a watermark of Britannia surmounted by a crown, countermarked dated 1801’, also surmounted by a crown, with chain lines 22 mm and laid lines 1mm apart. The second type watermarked ‘Budgen 1799’ of Kent papermaker Thomas Budgen with chain lines 13 mm and laid lines ~1mm apart. Endpapers of the same stock sewn together with the textblock, hence the right flyleaf comprises the first folio.

Extent: 71 folios, 1 flyleaf (ff. 37 + i + 33 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 319 × 201 mm.
Dimensions (written): 281 × 150 mm.

Pencilled in Arabic numerals at the top-left corners when catalogued, with folios 1a to 1Aa duplicated, so off by 1.


Binions throughout, 18II (70). Catch words on the lower-left corners of the b sides of nearly every folio.


Good condition, with moderate insect damage. The top of folio 1 cut out. A blank page between the two works foliated as 37.


1 column throughout. Number of lines varies. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in a clear nasta‘līq copyist's hand, primarily in black ink with headers, story, and verse markers in red.

  • Notation:on right paste-down,‘Baharistan no 35.’
  • Label:on right board with shelf mark ‘No. 12’and titles written in Persian on European laid handmade paper: بهارستان جامی رقعات عالمگیری
  • Bookplates: left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/B’, ‘Bland MSS No. 312’.


Likely bound in India in a European manner, with single-flexible sewing on five cords laced into the pasteboards, tight-bound in quarter red goatskin leather and British-made spot marbled paper sides, without a flap (type III binding per Déroche). Single-core frontbead endbands sewn in red and blue silk threads.

329 × 206 × 17 mm.


The right paste-down bears a small rectangular red wax seal, intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq in two stacked lines, double-ruled with the name of former owner John Staples Harriott (1780-1839) dated 1224 AH (1809–10 CE). Note the same seal appears upon Rylands Persian MS 55, folio 2a and Persian MS 364, folio iia: ‘ ات کپتان ۱۲۲۴
جان سٹی‍پلس هاری ’
(Jān Sṭaypils Hārī-āt, Kaptān, 1224). 12 × 14 mm.


Origin: Probably northern India; 29 Ramaz̤ān [120]1 AH; (29 July 1787 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by British East India Company interpreter John Staples Harriott (1780–1839), who impressed his red wax seal upon the right paste down. Sold after his death by the Alliance des Arts, Paris on 13–15 April 1843 (likely cat. 148, which only notes the first title, but not the second).

Evidently acquired at Harriott's sale by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865), after whose death London antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899)his oriental manuscripts were sold through in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).

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 Jake Benson in 2021 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)


    Jules Mohl and Paul Lacroix, Catalogue de livres et manuscrits orientaux, provenant de la bibliothèque de feu M. John Staples Harriot,... (Paris: l'Alliance des arts, 1848), p. 12, no. 148.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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