Bustan of Sa'di

Scope and Content

Bustan of Sa'di.

The poem has 10 sections each dealing with a different topic such as humility, good government, love, wisdom and justice. It begins with panegyrics and the whole is dedicated to Atabak Abubakr Sa'd ibn Zangy (1231-60), the ruler of Shiraz. This copy was written for George III, King of Great Britain (1760-1810), in various Persian scripts, much in minute writing within the large letters and leaves of the design on the roll. No date of writing but name of copyist, Mir 'Ali Amjad Khan, appears at end. Remarkable example of the calligrapher's art, roll of paper illuminated in gold with red.

Also a three page description written by Sir Charles W Rouse Boughton, Secretary of the Board of Control [of India], dated 15 April 1790, and referring to the manuscript shown to him by Henry Dundas, later 1st Viscount Melville, influential member of the board of Control from its inception in 1784 and president in 1793; letter to Principal Haldane from Lord Melville, Melville Castle, 18 January 1847, enclosing manuscript for deposit in Library and also enclosing letter from CW Rouse Boughton, Corney House, 15 April 1790, giving description of manuscript.

Administrative / Biographical History

Muslihuddin Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Mushrifuddin Sa'di (d.1292) was a poet, prose writer and thinker. He is also known as Shaykh Sa'di or Sa'di Shirazi. He was born in Shiraz in Persia, orphaned at an early age and went to Baghdad to study Arabic and the Qur'an. After finishing his studies he travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, perhaps as far afield as India and Ethiopia. He preached wherever he travelled and honed his sermons, their essence appearing in his later work, Gulistan. He was briefly captured by the Franks in Syria, and returned to Shiraz in 1256. Here he composed most of the 22 works of poems and prose ascribed to him. His most popular were the didactic poems, Bustan (Orchard) composed in 1257, and Gulistan (Rose garden), composed the following year.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, April 1847, catalogued by DM Dunlop, 1976.


Call number used to be msPK6540.B2D

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.




Reference to account of poem in Oriental Translation Society volume, delivered to University by Major Playfair.