Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 926 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An unsigned and undated copy of the Mas̲navī-i Ma‘navī (Spiritual Couplets) by Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1207–1273), likely completed in 18th-century Indian subcontinent. Some, but not all books open with brief, anonymous Persian prefaces.
Title: Mas̲navī
Title: مثنوی
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): بشنو از نی چون حکایت میکند * و ز جدأیها شکایت میکند.
Explicit: برگ ۲۸۱پ (folio 281a): زء جان آسمانست این کلام * هر که ازین بر رود آید.
Colophon: برگ ۲۸۱پ (folio 281a): تمت تمام شد کارم نظام شد دفتر ششم من کلام مثنوی مولوی روم قدس الله.
Colophon: Colophon on folio 281a unsigned and undated.
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 17, 21, 72, 213, 236, 250–255 (Books I–VI), 795, 847, 848, 983 (Book I), and 984, the last being the earliest, completed in 9 Muḥarram 758 AH (2 January 1357 CE), about 85 years after the author first composed it. For critical editions, see Isti‘lāmī and Furūzānfar. For a recent English translation of the first two books based on the former edition, see Williams. For earlier translations, see Arberry, Nicholson, and Whinfield.

Title: Book One
Title: دفتر الاوّل
Title: Daftar-i Avval
Title: Book Two
Title: دفتر دوّم
Title: Daftar-i Duvvūm
Title: Book Three
Title: دفتر سیوم
Title: Daftar-i Sīyūm
Title: Book Four
Title: دفتر چهادم
Title: Daftar-i Chahārum
Title: Book Five
Title: دفتر پنجم
Title: Daftar-i Panjum
Title: Book Six
Title: دفتر ششم
Title: Daftar-i Shīshum

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Written on thin, buff-coloured primarily straight-grained paper possibly handmade in the Indian subcontinent, with ~1.5 mm. between laid lines and few disciernible chain lines, externally sized, and polished.
Extent: 282 folios (ff. ii + 282 + ii, albeit marked 281).
Dimensions (leaf): 268 × 170 mm.
Dimensions (written): 209 × 115 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides but skip 115Aa, so thereafter under by one.


Primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords present at the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle with caution. In fair condition, with extensive cut-outs and infills on the margins repairs to inner quires in the gutters. Extensive damp and mould damage at the end throughout.


Written in 1 to 4 columns with 25 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Primarily written in black nasta‘līq script with headers in red by Ni‘mat Khān, who also apparently wrote some notes in the margins within the rulings.


Headpiece: Illluminated header on 1b. 132 × 110 mm.

Marginalia: Notes written in a heavier nasta‘līq hand in the margins, and also sometimes written vertically between the columns.
Inscriptions: 1a signed by former owner Edward Galley adjacent to his seal impression.
Bookplates and Catalogue Entry:
  • The right doublure bears a pasted entry from Bohn's catalogue.
  • The right doublure: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘1/E’ and class mark ‘Persian MSS No. 926’


Probably rebound in Surat for former owner Edward Galley.

Resewn with modern polyester thread on four supports, possibly of frayed cord, without endbands, probably in the mid-20th-century. Covered in full, pigment-coated russet-coloured morocco-grained goatskin leather with the original sides remounted, albeit with the front and back covers switched, given the label present on what is now the left board. Endpapers of laid paper feature watermarks of a 𝘳𝘦𝘫𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘳 and bull with initials G.B.C., manufactured in Italian peninsula (compare with PFES Nº Filigrana 001456A) measure 86 × 93 mm. and 84 × 96 mm. respectively.

Boards decorated with scalloped mandorla with detached quatrefoils and pendants blocked in gold, joined by a single crossed ruling lines in yellow in the centre, with board margins ruled with thick lines of the same with thin lines either side, bounded by a wide black border tooled with a quatrefoil scrollwork vine. The dies impressed on this volumes match others that formerly belonged to Samuel Guise (see 41, 300, and 301) who also lived in Surat at roughly the same time as Galley. Title written in Persian ‘مثنوی ملا روم’ (Mas̱navī Mullā Rūm) on the fore-edge in black ink, with the same repeated on a label applied to the what was likely originally the front cover, together with the number ‘۲’ (2).

272 × 178 × 48 mm.

Handle binding with caution: in fair condition, abrasion to the original leather.


Top of folio 1a impressed with the rectangular Anglo-Persian seal of Edward Galley (ca. 1750–1804), intaglio-cut in nasta‘liq script in two stacked lines, double-ruled, and possibly dated 1802:
ادورد گلی
10.5 × 13 mm.


Origin: Possibly completed in Surat; undated, but likely 18th-century CE

Provenance and Acquisition

Signed and impressed with the Anglo-Persian seal folio 1a by former owner, East India Company officer and notable collector Edward Galley (ca.1750–1804), once Resident at Bushehr (where he apparently introduced the potato to Iran) then later Surat, where he likely acquired this volume before passed away. Evidently sold by his executors in Surat, but who acquired the volume and the circumstances under which it arrived in Britain remain unclear.

Subsequently acquired by London antiquarian dealer Henry George Bohn (1796–1884), who offered the volume in catalogues spanning at least 1847 to 1866

Purchased from Bohn on 14 June 1866 by Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) for £1 5 shillings for the Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

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.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2022 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).


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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