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Persian Manuscripts

Date range: 13th-19th centuries

Medium: Manuscript

Number of items: 997 items

An important collection of nearly one thousand manuscripts, all on paper, chiefly originating in the Crawford purchase of 1901.

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

  • theological texts, prayer-books, commentaries on the Qur’ān, 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 Mughal 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.

See also:

Further information:

  • Fihrist has brief descriptions of some Persian manuscripts (currently Crawford manuscripts only).
  • The unpublished handlist of Crawford items compiled by Michael Kerney in the 1890s has been digitised and is available via Library Digital Collections.
  • Manuscripts containing Persian miniatures are described in B. W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library: a Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980).
  • The Persian manuscripts donated to the University of Manchester Library by Professor Robinson in 1888 are described in Siavash Rafiee Rad, 'Persian Manuscripts in Samuel Robinson’s Collection in The John Rylands Library', Manuscripta, vol. 61 issue 2 (2017), pp.239-92.


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