Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 900 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A complete copy of the Mirʼāt-i Sikandarī (Alexander's Mirror) a history of the Muẓaffarid dynasty that ruled Gujarat until annexed by the Mughals in 1573. Finished about 70 years after Iskandar ibn Muḥammad Manjū (b. ca. 1582) first authored it between 1611 to 1613, the bibliophile governor of Chittoor ‘Abd al-Vahhāb (d. ca. 1801) before it was plundered by the ruler of Mysore Ḥaydar ‘Alī, then again by British forces after they defeated his son and successor Tīpū Sulṭān (b. 1753, r. 1782–1799).
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): .الحمد لله الذی جعل الفردا من الافرادا
Explicit: برگ ۴۰۱ر (folio 401a): اللهم ارنا الحق حقا وارزقنا اتباعه، وأرنا الباطل باطلاً وارزقنا اجتنابه.
Colophon: برگ ۴۰۱ر (folio 401a): تحریرا فی التاریخ ۷ شهر صفر سنه ۱۰۹۴ صورت کتاب مرات سکندری انمام یافت بعون الله تمت تم.
Colophon: Completed 7 Ṣafar 1094 AH (5 Feb. 1683 CE).
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of domestic, straight-grained, ivory-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with 8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 400 folios, 5 flyleaves (ff. iii + 400 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 243 × 133 mm.
Dimensions (written): 175 × 82 mm.
Foliation: Hindu-Arabic numerals written on the upper-left corners of the a sides throughout, but omitting 115a, hence thereafter off by one.


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 1 column with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with subheaders in red.


Ruling: Margins double-ruled in red surrounding by a single black lines.

Inscriptions: Folio 1a bears the title written in Persian with an English description, and ‘Nº 10’ written at top.
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/F’, and ‘Additional MSS No. 106’ with ‘Persian’ and ‘900’ written aside.


Probably repaired and rebound in Britain in circa 1850.

Resewn with stiff-leaved ivory coloured wove paper and serpentine shell patterned marbled endpapers, on five recessed cord supports laced into pasteboards. , edges trimmed and roughly gilded, with decorative front-bead endbands sewn over a flat core in white, blue, and red silk threads at head and tail. Recovered in a hybrid Islamic-inspired style in full red pebble-grained morocco goatskin leather, hollow-backed, with a fore-edge and hexagonal envelop flap (Type II binding as per Déroche

Board margins, head and tail of spine, and interior dentelles all blined tooled with thick and thin lines and mitred corners, with blind single fillets on the the flap interior and exterior margins Title and date paletted on the spine in gold.

255 × 154 × 61 mm.

Binding in good condition, with joints, headcaps, and corners abraded; however, the hollow back seems liable to spring open and closed.

Two rectangular black seal impressions, both intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script, appear within the volume.

1: Folio 1a bears a seal impression dated 1186 AH (1772–73 CE) in three stacked lines, single-ruled, with the name of former owner Nawwāb ʻAbd al-Vahhāb Khān Shīkūh al-Mulk Naṣīr al-Dawlah Nuṣrat Jang Bahādur (ca. 1724–1801):

نصیر الدوله نصرت جنگ بهادر ۱۱۸۶

21 × 26 mm.

2: The third right folio a side (f. iiia) bears an administrative seal impression in two stacked lines, double-ruled, for the distict of Ẓafarābād established by Tīpū Sulṭān in Dec. 1785:

هو الحی الظاهر دیوان کچهری هفتم ظفرآبادی

Huwa al-Ḥayy al-Ẓāhir. Dīvān-i kachahrī haftum-i Ẓafarābādī.

13 × 22 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; 7 Ṣafar 1094 AH (5 Feb. 1683 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Collected by governor of Chittoor, Nawwāb ʻAbd al-Vahhāb Khān Shīkūh al-Mulk Naṣīr al-Dawlah Nuṣrat Jang Bahādur (ca. 1724–1801), fourth son of the Nawwāb of Arcot, Anvār al-Dīn Khā Bahādur (d. 1749), as per his seal impression on folio 1a.

Subsequently captured by ruler of Mysore, Ḥaydar ‘Alī (b. ca. 1722, r. 1761–1782) in 1780, as evinced by another rectangular administrative seal impression on third right flyleaf a side (f. iiia) of the seventh division (kachahrī) of Ẓafarābād, a district in Gurramkonda near Chittoor, established by Ḥaydar ‘Alī’s son and successor Tipu Sultan (b. 1751, r. 1782–1799) in December 1785. Thereafter accessioned by Tipu at his palace at Seringapatam, then subsequently plundered by British forces after his defeat. Documented in an inventory list of volumes selected for the East India Company by Prize Agents Charles Stewart and Samuel Ogg (BL, Mss Eur/E196, folio 70(?). However, Stewart then curiously omits it from his 1809 catalogue of the collection, hence the circumstances of the volume’s arrival in Britain remain unclear (See Sims-Williams).

Possibly acquired by London booksellers Puttick & Simpson or Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) then sold to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) between 1874 to 1876.

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, and in consultation with Ursula Sims-Williams, Lead Curator for Persian, British Library, regarding the seal impressions and provenance.


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.


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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