Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 907 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Illustrated copy of Laylā va Majnūn by Hilālī

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Gold-sprinkled written surface.
Extent: 78 folios
Dimensions (leaf): 23.8 × 15.2 cm.
Dimensions (written): 14.3 × 6.7 cm.

Pencil numbering throughout. Unaccountably omits folio 1, however, so ends on 77 rather than 78. B.W. Robinson follows the incorrect numbering in his catalogue of the work in order to avoid confusion.




Three miniatures, comparatively early examples of the Khurasan style. While miniatures in Persian manuscripts do expand beyond the confines of the the written surface and thereby interrupt the border lines, the rulings in this manuscript remain intact, despite the miniatures extending far into the margins. Certain faces have been repainted in a European style.

Fine illuminated heading at the beginning of the text.


Oriental binding of reddish leather (worn and rebacked) with stamped gilt medallions, pendants, frame panels and corner-pieces (possibly 18th century).


Origin: Rabi' I 969 (1561) AH The middle digit was originally read as a 4 by Dr Clarke in his catalogue, followed by Kerney in his handlist of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana oriental manuscripts.

Provenance and Acquisition

Colophon on folio 77a (78a) signed by Muhammad al-katib Raza, dated 1561.

On the front fly-leaf is written in English and Persian: 'The highly valued property of Gholam Hussin Khan'. On the back doublure is pasted an extract from Dr Adam Clarke's catalogue, reading 'My Father bought it at the sale of the late Mr C. Fox of Bristol, whose elegant MS translations into blank verse are in my possession'. It is important to note that like Persian MS 43, this manuscript also came from Mr Fox's collection and was restored to its intended order by Dr Clarke. It is therefore possible that Mr Fox was responsible for the European-style repainting of several faces in both manuscripts.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.

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.

Manuscript description based on B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980).


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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