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Persian Manuscripts

Aziz at Zulaykha's camp, painted in the Mashhad style, from a copy of Yusuf u Zulaykha by Jami (1414-92), c.1550 (Persian MS 23, fol. 23v.).

Collection of c.950 items, all on paper, chiefly originating in the Crawford purchase of 1901.

The collection dates from between the early 13th century AD and the 19th, and the subject range is wide, including:

  • theological texts, prayer-books, commentaries on the Qur’an, works on Sufism, and the lives of saints and prophets
  • literary and poetic texts, romances, chronicles and fables
  • writing manuals, books on grammar, dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • volumes on the history of India, the Mogul Empire and Indian local history
  • works on law, philosophy, medicine, natural history, geography, cosmography, occult science, astronomy and astrology

There are numerous calligraphic and lavishly illustrated texts and decorated bindings.

Finding aids

  • Unpublished handlist of Crawford items, Michael Kerney, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts belonging to the Earl of Crawford (n.d., ?1890s).
  • B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: a Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980).


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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