ABU ‘ABDULLAH MUHAMMAD IBN SULAYMAN IBN ABU BAKR AL-JAZULI

Dala’il al-Khayrat, illuminated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Ottoman Turkey, first half of nineteenth century

£3,950

Sm. 8vo, 175 by 120mm., 97 leaves plus two later flyleaves at each end, complete, text-block in single column throughout, 11 lines scribal black naskh per page, illuminated head-piece opening the text with gilt and polychrome decorations, opening two leaves with gilt borders and interlinear colouring of pounced gilt decorations, polychrome headings opening sections of the text throughout, two full-page coloured illustrations of Mecca and Medina, verses marked throughout by gilt roundels, leaves ruled in gilt, red and blue, some very small smudges, one blank upper outer corner repaired, erroneous inscription dating the manuscript to 1050 AH at the end of the text, twentieth-century bookplate of “Pamela and Raymond Lister” to upper pastedown. In fine red morocco boards with flap, covers decorated with three-piece central medallion of inlaid green leather, embossed with spiralling gilt decorations, covers ruled and tooled in gilt, spine and crease of flap repaired, lightly rubbed in places, housed in custom red cloth drop-box.

A popular collection of Sunni prayers and blessings dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad for the purposes of daily recitation. The text was compiled by the Moroccan Sufi leader al-Jazuli in the fifteenth century and is commonly considered the earliest collection of liturgies in Islamic history dedicated entirely to the Prophet. Manuscript copies of the text often feature the double-page illustrations of Mecca and Medina which sometimes depict the tombs of Prophet Muhammad and the Caliphs. The inclusion of illustrations is unusual for Islamic manuscripts as the Muslim tradition generally condemns iconography, and the illustrations in this text are a break from that common principle. The 99 names of Allah and 100 names of the Prophet are also common additions, the latter present in this copy. Since al-Jazuli’s death in 1465, this prayerbook has become one of the most popular collection of daily prayers among Sunni muslim communities worldwide, and particularly throughout North Africa, the Levant, Turkey, and some areas of South Asia. 

This copy of the Dala’il al-Khayrat is a fine example of Ottoman manuscript production, skillfully illuminated and copied by the copyist named in the colophon. Hafiz Ahmed Aziz bin al-Zahidi was likely a court calligrapher, specialising in Qur’anic texts, whose neat and scribal naskh calligraphy are exemplified to a high standard in this manuscript. This particular copy was likely commissioned by a noble patron and produced in a skilled Ottoman workshop, for private use by the consignor. 

Manuscript from the collection of the late Pamela and Raymond Lister. Dr Raymond Lister founded the Golden Head Press and was notably the governor of the Federation of the British Artists during his lifetime.

L3119

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KITAB AL-TAHARAH

copied by scribe Ali bin Shahab al-Din, decorated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Safavid Persia, dated Jumada II 973 AH (December 1565 – January 1566 AD)

£1,750

185 by 120mm., 216 leaves, complete, text in single column throughout, 14 lines of black naskh, headings and key word in red, catch-words throughout, marginal annotations throughout copied in both contemporary and later hands, early twentieth-century Persian export stamps to preliminary and penultimate leaves, large paper label to upper pastedown, in contemporary blind-stamped morocco, perhaps missing a flap, spine and outer extremities repaired in later morocco, paper label to spine, wear to covers.

One of the founding pillars of Islamic Fiqh – Islamic jurispudence based on divine law – is the ritual of purity and cleanliness. The faith determines that if impurities exist on the human body, the negative impacts of this on their health and mental state will pollute the soul. Therefore one of the methods of purification for the soul lies in the hygiene and cleanliness of the human body. This work outlines the methods by which muslims can practice ritual purity in their daily lives as outlines by the Shi’a understanding of Islamic jurisprudence. This Kitab al-Taharah (literally meaning the book of purification) is divided into multiple sections covering a wide range of topics including: ablution, tayammum (the Islamic ritual of dry purification using purified sand or dust), death washing rituals, and performing wudu (cleaning parts of the body in preparation for prayer).

The wide margins and informal annotations throughout this volume indicate that it was probably copied for practice in an Islamic school, likely connected to a mosque, during the reign of Shah Tahmasp I of the Safavid dynasty. The hand is not consistent with the formal scribal practices at the time, but has clearly been copied by a trained hand suggesting that the scribe here, Ali bin Shahab al-Din, was likely either a scholar himself or an educated student copying the text for personal use.

This volume was formerly part of the both the Hagop Kevorkian and Mohamed Makiya private libraries, these important twentieth-century collections of Islamic books and manuscripts.

L3377

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MUSA BIN MUHAMMAD QAZI ZADEH AL-RUMI

FINELY ILLUSTRATED ASTRONOMY

Sharh al-Mulakhas fi’Ilm al-Hay’a (a commentary on the Compendium of Cosmology), decorated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Region of Samarkand, likely last decades of fifteenth century

£13,500

12mo, 170 by 95mm., 86 leaves (including 4 contemporary flyleaves), complete, text in single column throughout, 19 lines delicate black nasta’liq, some overlining and headings in red, numerous diagrams throughout the text also in red, contemporary annotations to margins, catch-words throughout, some very faint water-staining to extremities, a few early ownership annotations and stamps to preliminary and penultimate leaves, including some quatrains of Persian poetry, early eighteenth-century russet morocco with flap, centrally placed medallions stamped in blind to covers and flap, also ruled in blind, some staining and light wear to extremities.

Musa bin Muhammad Qazi Zadeh al-Rumi (d.1436), known simply as Qazi Zaheh, was an Ottoman astronomer and mathematician based in Samarkand. Qazi Zadeh was a celebrated scholar in his field and is best known for the Zij’i Sultani, his collaborative work with fellow astronomer and Govenor of Samarkand Ulugh Beg (d. 1449). Their treatise is considered the first truly comprehensive stellar catalogue containing over 900 stars and is still considered an important treatise in the field of cosmology today. During his career Qazi Zadeh also became the directory of the Samarkan educational observatory, built under the direction and patronage of Ulugh Beg, which became the centre for astronomical research and education in the region.

The present text is a commentary on Mahmoud ibn Muhammad ibn Umar al-Jaghmini’s influential astronomical text entitled Al-Mulakhas fi’Ilm al-Haya (Compendium of Cosmology) which was likely compiled in the early 13th century. Qazi Zadeh’s treatise both acts as a summary and commentary of Jaghmini’s text, dealing with the configuration of the celestial and territorial worlds combined (including the arrangement of Ptolemaic celestial orbs). These treatises are compiled in a simplified format to accommodate a wider scholarly community and thus explain cosmographic theories in basic elementary terms and target broad audiences. The approachable nature of this text meant it became particularly widespread, often copied alongside Jaghmini’s text, and was even used as a curriculum for schools in Ottoman regions. 

This particular manuscript was probably copied for personal use by a scholarly student. Though there are wide margins throughout (for annotation) the text itself is miniscule and copied in a very tight format, an economic solution for self funding copyist. The contemporary marginalia and ownership seals are in keeping with the Eastern regions of Timurid Persia, not far from Samarkand, and probably copied only a few decades after the author’s death. 

L3203

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QUR’AN

A NOTABLE QUALITY EXAMPLE

Illuminated manuscript in Arabic on paper

Mamluk territories, probably Egypt, mid-fourteenth century

£24,000

4to, 237 x 170mm., 53 leaves, the complete Juz’ Qala ‘alam (XVI), containing text from surah al-Kahf (18) verse 57 to surah Ta Ha (20) verse 135. Text in single column throughout, 7 lines fine scribal muhaqqaq script in black, some vocalisation in red, opening two pages with text-blocks framed within gold borders, each containing rectangular panels at the top with headings in white muhaqqaq against blue, green and orange arabesque designs, three circular medallions extending into the margins on each side, recto of first leaf with large circular device, heightened in gold with decorative rays extending outwards, two illuminated surah headings in the text, each with heading in white thuluth text against gold polychrome banners with circular device extending into the outer margins, verses marked throughout with gold roundels, each of these decorated with red and blue. Very scattered faint spotting, some blank outer corners repaired and a few small worm-holes to lower margins (not affecting text), overall very clean and attractive example, in eighteenth-century dark brown morocco, with three-medallion design to covers displaying floral pattern (a little rubbed), remains of hand-painted gilt decorations to medallions, borders ruled in gilt, covers a little scuffed, rebacked, corners repaired.

The Qur’an is divisible into 30 equal sections, sometimes copied into independent volumes, to facilitate readers to complete the entire text in one calendar month. Each of these sections is called a Juz’, a popular division of the Qur’an in North African territories, and considered a complete section of the Qur’an in itself. The text here was likely part of a wider set, in which all the 30 Juz’ were copied in the same hand and illuminated in a consistent style with one another. 

This manuscript contains Juz’ XVI of the Qur’an, known as Qala ‘alam, which is formed of three separate chapters: surah al-Kahf (from verse 57), the entirety of surah al-Maryam and surah Ta Ha (up to verse 135). These three chapters of the Qur’an include passages relating to Mryam and Isa (the Virgin Mary and Jesus in the Christian faith), God’s call to Moses, the Exodus of the Isralites and the crossing of the Red Sea. 

This is an early example of a Mamluk Qur’anic Juz’ dating back to the first period of the Mamluk Sultanate, known as the Bahri era (1250 – 1382), and is a notably fine example of its kind. The lavish illumination and quality of calligraphy exemplified in this manuscript indicate that it was copied for a member of the Mamluk courts, whose patronage of Islamic manuscripts was well established by this period. The border designs of the opening two leaves together with the style of script are distinctive in their styles and highly comparable to manuscripts produced in Egypt during the final decades of the fourteenth century. The script is spaciously laid out using only 7 lines to the page, which further indicates courtly or royal patronage, and the fine scribal muhaqqaq script is consistent and symmetrical throughout. 

L3347

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MANSUR BIN MUHAMMAD BIN AHMAD BIN YUSUF BIN FAQIR ILYAS.

WONDERFUL ANATOMICAL ILLUSTRATIONS

Al-Tashrih bi’l-Taswir [a treatise on human anatomy], illuminated manuscript in Farsi on fine polished paper

Timurid Persia, probably Shiraz, likely first half of fifteenth century

£54,000

4to, 243 by 159mm., 23 leaves, text divided into three separate sections, apparently complete, text in single column throughout, 24 lines fine black nasta’liq with headings in red, opening of first section with rectangular panel above the text containing the blessing ‘Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim’ in large gold thuluth script set against a backdrop of spiralling vines, 5 full-page anatomical illustrations, each with red, blue and green additions, text-panels ruled in blue and gold, occasional scattered smudges or faint soiling, outer edges of leaves chipped with slight loss in places (not affecting text), some edges repaired, a few eighteenth-century inscriptions to recto of first leaf and verso of final leaf, bound in seventeenth century limp leather, painted gold or bronze, spine and edges strengthened, a little rubbed. 

Mansur bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Yusuf bin Faqir Ilyas, known simply as Mansur bin Ilyas, was a Persian physician from Shiraz known to have compiled a number of notable scientific treatises, including the Kifaya-i Mansuri (a trestise on medicine). The present text, also known as the Tashrih-i Mansuri, is his most important work, the earliest known text to include a coloured atlas of the human body in the Arabic world. 

The text was first commissioned by Fars politician and Muzazzarid ruler Zayn al-Abdin and is formed of six (or sometimes seven) independent sections including: an introduction followed by chapters relating to muscular, arterial, osseous and nervous systems, an appendix on the formation of the foetus and key compound organs. Most of these sections include an illustration depicting the full length of the human body in relation to these physical systems, the rarest of which is that depicting the foetus (present in this copy). This is a particularly important section of the work because contrary to popular opinion among both contemporary and pre-eminent physicians, Mansur bin Ilyas was of the opinion that the heart was the first compound organ to form in a foetus, and not the brain. This particular chapter of the text explains this theory and cites related arguments made by Aristotle, Hippocrates, Abu Bakr al-Razi and Hippocrates among others. 

This is a notably early example of the text. Though the definitive dates of the author’s life are unknown, he is thought to have flourished in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries: and the style of illumination and script present in this copy strongly suggest it was produced in the first half of the fifteenth century. Thus the present manuscript could well have been copied only a few decades after the author’s death, and likely produced in a similar region in central Persia, quite possibly in Shiraz where the author himself flourished. The large gilt illuminated heading at the opening of the text together with the style of scribal nasta’liq and paper quality all indicate a date of production in the first half of the fifteenth century. 

Despite the wide margins present, there are very few marginal annotations to the codex. This indicates that the manuscript was probably used by a practising doctor or physician as a reference work instead of use by a scholar in the field of medicine. The very light weight and soft binding also strongly suggest that the manuscript was designed to be carried by a doctor going about his practice. It would take up little space and be very easy to pack. The use of gold and illumination indicate that the manuscript may well have been commissioned for a physician of the royal Timurid courts. 

L3346

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[MÜNSTER, Sebastian.]

ARAMAIC GRAMMAR AND DICTIONARY

Chaldaica Grammatica. [with] Dictionarium Chaldaicum.

Basel, J. Frobenius, 1527.

£3,750

FIRST EDITIONS. Small 4to, 2 works in 1, pp. (viii) 212 (iv); (viii) 434 (ii). Roman and Hebrew letter, little Ge’ez. Woodcut architectural t-p with putti and grotesques to second, woodcut printer’s device to verso of last of both, decorated initials (a handful hand-coloured). Slight browning, light water stain to upper and outer blank margin of first and last few gatherings, I: fore-edge a bit chewed, small worm hole to upper outer blank corner of first few gatherings. Good copies in contemporary Swiss or German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, rebacked, remains of spine replaced, brass clasps, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll with Jacob’s ladder, Abraham and Isaac, and Christ trampling the Devil, second border blind-stamped rosettes and ivy leaves, centre panel with blind rolls with female figures of Lucretia, Prudencia. Rubbed, minor loss to lower outer corners. C16 faded Italian autograph and Hebrew inscriptions to front pastedown, small armorial stamp and inscription mostly erased from t-p, occasional C16 Latin or Aramaic annotations.

An Augsburg binding from the workshop of Caspar Horneffer (Haebler, I, 168-168), who signed the figure of Lucretia with C.H. (EBDB r003142). The outer border shows handsomely portrayed scenes of Christ trampling the Devil, Abraham and Isaac, and the unusual subject of Jacob’s ladder.

First editions of the first Aramaic grammar and dictionary by a Christian scholar (with references to Ethiopic). By Sebastian Münster—‘the founder of the field of study of Aramaic in Germany’ (McLean, ‘Cosmographia’, 18)—they were superbly produced by one of the most intellectual early printers, the Swiss Johann Froben (1460-1527). The initials and the handsome woodcut t-p of ‘Dictionarium’ were designed by Hans Holbein the Younger, employed by Froben. Most renowned for his ‘Cosmographia’ (1544), Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a cartographer and Hebraist at Basle, being the first Christian scholar to produce an edition of the Hebrew Bible. He conceived his ‘Grammatica’ after learning Aramaic as a language that could shed greater light on Hebrew as well as on the interpretation of biblical texts, like the books of Daniel and Ezra, which had largely survived in Aramaic. He proceeded by making the reader familiar with Aramaic by degrees, highlighting the number of words of Greek origin, Aramaic words in the Scriptures, and comparisons between the ‘lingua Saracenica’, ‘lingua Indiana’ (Ethiopic, in Ge’ez type), Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin. After discussing Aramaic letters, numbers, nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc., it provides a few Targum texts, ‘Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic […] used […] primarily as a means to teach Aramaic in the Jewish education system’ (van Staalduine-Sulman, ‘Introduction’, 1). The ‘Dictionarium’ was dedicated to St John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, a great promoter of Hebrew studies at Cambridge, later executed by Henry VIII and canonised. It includes words encountered by Münster in the course of his studies, and considered important for the study of this sacred language, from verbs to the word for ‘dates that are still unripe’, with additional explanations. The learned annotator of this ‘Grammatica’ was acquainted with Ethiopic, as he mentioned Johannes Potken’s misidentification of Ethiopian as Chaldean in his ‘Alphabetus’; he also provided the Aramaic transcription of a few Latin words.

I: Panzer, VI, 258, n.654; Steinschneider, Bibl. Hand., 1377; BM STC Ger., p.632; Burmeister, Sebastian Münster, 3.
II: Burmeister, Sebastian Münster, pp. 92-93, n.4.4; Burmeister, Sebastian Münster Bibl., n. 23 Fürst, Bibliotheca Judaica, II:408; BM STC Ger., p.633; BM Hebrew, p.598; Panzer, VI, 258, n.653; Steinschneider, Bibl. Hand., 1385. M. McLean, The Cosmographia of Sebastian Münster (Aldershot, 2007); E. van Staalduine-Sulman, Justifying Christian Aramaism (Leiden, 2017).

L2948

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ERPENIUS, Thomas.

Arabicae linguae tirocinium.

Leiden, J. Maire, 1656.

£1,450

Small 4to. pp. (xii) 172, 282 [i.e., 284]. Roman letter, with Arabic, some Italic. T-p in red and black with engraved vignette, woodcut initials and ornaments. Minor mainly marginal foxing, few ll. slightly browned. A very good copy in contemporary vellum over boards, edges sprinkled red, curious early red stamp (Arabic?) to lower outer blank corner of t-p, editorial annotation on E1.    

Very good copy of the much enlarged, definitive edition of this milestone of early modern Arabic linguistics by the major scholar Thomas Erpen. First published in 1613 as ‘Grammatica Arabica’ and substantially enlarged by his former student Jacobus Golius in 1656, this grammar marked ‘a breakthrough in European attempts to render Arabic grammar accessible to students who had been educated in the Latin tradition’ (Loop, ‘Introduction’, 5). Encouraged by Scaliger to undertake the study of Oriental languages, Erpenius (or van Erpe, 1584-1624) became one of the most important linguists of his time, a prolific editor of oriental texts, and professor at Leiden, where he delivered the inaugural lecture ‘On the Excellence and Dignity of the Arabic Language’. This enlarged edition is ‘by far the most comprehensive and the most didactically accomplished version of Erpenius’s grammar ever to appear’ (Loop, ‘Arabic Poetry’, 247). It includes the original, accessible sections on grammar—from orthography to syllabation, phonetics, verbs, nouns, pronouns, etc.—and, as reading exercises with a Latin translation, the fables of Luqman and 200 proverbs (from the 1636 edition). Golius, who had succeeded Erpenius as professor at Leiden and published a revolutionary Arabic-Latin dictionary in 1653, added further reading exercises, some without translation. In particular, a brief history of the Qur’an and its structure, three ‘suras’ (Luqman, al-Ṣaf and al-Sajda), texts by al-Ḥarīrī and al-Maʿarrī, and a sermon by Eliya III. Reprinted dozens of times, Erpenius’s grammar was superseded only in the C19.

Brunet II, 1050; Graesse II, 499. The Teaching and Learning of Arabic in Early Modern Europe, ed. J. Loop et al. (Leiden, 2017).

L3291

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AHMED IBN AHMED IBN ‘ABD AL-LATĪF AL SHARJI AL-ZUBAYDI, SHIHAB AL-DĪN

MAGIC SQUARES AND DIVINATION

Kitāb Al Fawayīd wa al-Ṣilāt Wa al-‘Awāyid [On Magic and Talismans]

[Sana’a, Yemen, AH 969/1562]

£26,500

Arabic manuscript on paper, 100 ff. of text, two free end papers, pages numbered, each with 25 lines of black naskh script, text panel 157 x 100 mm, titles and some words picked out in red, some phrases underlined in red, text within red frame, including numerous arithmetical tables and some diagrams, later notes to the end papers, colophon signed ‘Abd al-Raḥīm al-Zubaydi in Sana’a in modern Yemen in Shawwal AH 969 (June-July 1562 AD) and dated, repair without loss, at least three different hands of marginal annotations.

Contemporary, polished natural high quality morocco with central stamped medallion, an excellent copy with minor damp staining and marginal finger-soiling.

Kitāb Al Fawayīd wa al-ilāt Wa al-‘Awāyid is a treatise outlining the various principles of numerology in Islam where charts and numbers are used for divination or to bring barākā (blessings). Most of the illustrations in this manuscript are of the Islamic talismanic design known as wafq – ‘magic squares’ (see Maddison, F., and Savage-Smith E., ‘Science, Tools & Magic in the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art’, Oxford; Oxford University Press, 1997 or Savage-Smith, E., ‘Magic and divination in early Islam’, Aldershot; Ashgate Variorum, 2004). A magic square is arranged to produce a constant sum in all rows and columns and were most commonly depicted on amulets or manuscripts. The wafq is sometimes described as ‘recreational mathematics’ because of the sophisticated mathematical principles they illustrate. Jacques Sesiano in the article ‘Magic squares in Islamic Mathematics’ has argued that magic squares in Medieval Islam were developed from chess which was hugely popular in the Middle East. Sesiano has also observed how there are references to the use of magic squares in astrological calculations. Magic squares are, generally, magic by association (because of the carefully arranged sums), physical proximity and in their supposed capacity to foretell future outcomes.Rare.

From the collection of Adrienne Minassian; formerly at Brown University.

K136

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