Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 908 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Illustrated copy of the Kullīyāt (Collected Works) of ʻUrfī Shīrāzī.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Cross-grained ivory-coloured paper probably handmade in Greater Iran, with ~9 laid line per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 271 folios
Dimensions (leaf): 222 × 123 mm.
Dimensions (written): 130 × 60 mm.


Written in 1 to 4 columns with 17 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


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


Two double page miniatures at the beginning (1b and 2a) and end (270b and 271a), both enclosed in richly illuminated borders.

Illuminated headings with richly decorated margins on folios 2b (Preface), 66b (Qasidas), 131b (Short Poems), 141b (Ghazals) and 253b (Quatrains).


Contemporary binding very similar to that of Persian MS 35 (the gilt panels on the outer faces are from the same die) and no doubt from the same workshop, with panels of inscription of cut-out and inlaid coloured leather and cut-out work on the doublures.

Accompanying Material

Modern red leather slip-case. Note inserted at the back describes the acquisition in Lisbon in 1883 for £80.


Origin: Completed by Muhammad Husayn Dar-al-Marzi Qazi known as Qāz̤ī, probably in Isfahan; Tuesday, 8 Rabi' II 1038 (5 Dec. 1628 CE) AH.

Provenance and Acquisition


Formerly part of the collection of a Chevalier J. Ferrão de Castel-Branco (or Castelbranco) who makes a single appearance in 1847 as a member of the Royal Asiatic Society. Also formerly part of the collection of the orientalist Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy (1758-1838).

A note on a slip inserted in the manuscript reads 'Purchased in May 1883 at an orientalist sale in Lisbon for £80'.

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.

A digital facsimile is available via the University of Manchester LibraryImage Collections

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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