SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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[Teaching Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts.]

An assorted collection of manuscript leaves from the near and middle east.

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Middle East, 16th - 19th centuries.
Middle East, 16th - 19th centuries.

7 leaves in Arabic and Persian, from Mamluk Egypt, Ottoman Turkey and Persia - ranging from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Some oxidisation to some leaves, and age-toning, but generally all in good condition. The teaching collection comprising: 1. Two leaves from an Ottoman Qur'an, illuminated manuscripts on paper, in Arabic, mid 19th century; single column, 15 lines black naskh per page; leaves framed within gilt ruling and gilt roundels marking the verses throughout, each leaf 161 x 105 mm. 2. Bifolio from an Ottoman Prayerbook, containing the names of Allah, probably from a Dala'il al-Khayrat, mid-nineteenth century, single column; 9 lines black naskh per page; important sections in red; gilt roundel marking the verses and leaves ruled in gilt. Each leaf 160 x 105 mm. 3. A single page from a sixteenth-century Muqammat ** of Hariri, probably from Mamluk Near East, single and double column; 15 lines black cursive script verging on naskh; contemporary interlinear and marginal commentaries, some sections in red. Leaf 250 x 180 mm. 4. A single page from a manuscript in Arabic, text unidentified, probably early eighteenth-century, from the Near East, single column; 15 lines black naskh script; text-block ruled in red. Leaf 245 x 175 mm. 5. A single leaf from a poetic treatise, in Persian, probably from Kashmir during the nineteenth-century; double column, 14 lines black nasta'liq script; column division and outer borders ruled in elegant gilt floral motif; text ruled in red, gold and blue. Leaf 190 x 120 mm. **The Maqummat which consists of short satirical stories edged with social criticism, is among the earliest examples of the Arabic belles-lettres tradition. The stories relate the escapades of Abu Zayd, a roguish hero whose linguistic abilities enable him to swindle people and evade punishment, and his dim-witted friend, al-Harith, who narrates these picaresque episodes. About four hundred of these stories, some of which date to the eighth-century, were compiled by al-Hamdhani around the year 1000. Fifty of the maqamma were written down by al-Hariri (1054-1122), whose work became the most widely copied and illustrated version in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The first illustrated copies of al-Hariri's Maqummat were produced in the early decades of the thirteenth century and a second, attributed to Syria, was compiled in 1222. Two other illustrated manuscripts, attributed to Baghdad, were made in the 1230s, and contain the most elaborate paintings. An equally refined version was produced between 1242 and 1258 for al-Mustasim, the last Abbasid caliph of Baghdad. Another copt, with considerably weaker illustrations, is dated 1256.

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