Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 919 (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 Shāh Jahān, 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 frome that he heard a young Brahmin recite.
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 ۲۲۶ر (folio 226a): 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 ۲۲۶ر (folio 226a): تمام شد کتاب بهار دانش نصیف الفضلاء زمان مبان عنایت الله کنبوهی ساکن دار السلطنه لاهور بتاریخ نهم ۹ ماه حنوری سنه ۱۸۹۰ عیسوی روز جمعه.
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 88, Persian MS 199, 463, 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 comprised of thin-weight, cross-grained, ivory coloured European paper , ivoury-coloured paper handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~9 laid lines per cm and 23 mm between chain lines.
Extent: 228 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 228 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 225 × 180 mm.
Dimensions (written): 190 × 127 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in Hindu-Arabic numerals in black ink on the upper-left corners of the a sides, ending at 226a, followed in this record.
Foliation: Pencilled pagination in Arabic numerals at the top-centres.


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


Text in good condition with minor insect or rodent damage along the edges.


Written in 1 column with 12 to 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red.

Bookplates and Pasted Items: The left pastedown bears the bookplate of one ‘John Hunter’, which closely resembles that of the famed Scottish surgeon of that name who died in 1793, but cannot be his due to the date of completion of this volume two years later in 1795. Below that, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/F’, and a Lindesiana label bears the ‘Persian MS 919’.


Rebound in Britain, probably for former owner John Hunter.

Sewn on two recessed cord supports, laced into pasteboards. Covered in full crimson straight-grained Morocco goatskin leather over pasteboards.

231 × 189 × 41 mm.

Binding in good condition.


Origin: Completed in 1795 CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

While the circumstances under which this volume arrived in Britain remain unclear, the bookplate of one John Hunter indicates his former ownership.

While the circumstances under which this volume arrived in Britain remain unclear, London bookseller Henry George Bohn (1796–1884) advertized the volume for sale for £1, 11 shillings and sixpence in his 1866 catalogue, p. 851.

Evidently acquired by Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold the volume to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) for the same price, then accessioned by the Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan 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, Manchester.

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.

Subsequently augmented and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the manuscript 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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    ‘Abd al-Muqtadir, Catalogue of the Arabic and Persian Manuscripts in the Oriental Public Library at (Bankipore) Patna, Vol. VIII (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1925), p. 182, nos. 741–742.
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    Henry George Bohn, General Catalogue, Part 2, Sect. 3 London: Bohn, 1866), p. 851.
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    I. H. Siddiqui 'ʿEnāyat-Allāh Kanbo', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 4 (1998), pp. 429–430.
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    Ḥ. Z̲ū al-Faqārī, 'Bahār-i Dānish' Dā'irat al-Ma‘ārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī, Vol. 13 (Tehran: Dā'irat al-Ma‘ārif Buzug-i Islāmī, 1383 SH (2004-05 CE), p. 93.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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