Taqwim al-abdan fi sihat al-insan fi tadbir al-a'm, signed by 'Ali ibn abi bakr al-katib al-hanafi.[Anatolia or Jazirah : AH 878 / 1473-4 CE] Stock Code: 138652
NotesThis important medical text was composed during the golden age of Abbasid intellectual discovery. The intellectual boom was in large part fuelled by interest in and the translating of classical Greek texts on areas as wide ranging as astronomy, philosophy, and of course medicine. Much of the body of classical Greek knowledge was translated into Arabic by members of the oriental Christian communities who lived under Muslim rule. The author of this text, Ibn Jazlah, comes directly from that mould, having been born a Nestorian Christian in Baghdad and later having converted to Islam, rising to become the official physician of the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadi bi-Amr Allah (r.1075-94 CE).
The text itself, which is dedicated to the Caliph al-Muqtadi bi-Amr Allah, is organised in a very practical way. It lists a series of some 352 illnesses separated into some 44 tables. The names and symptoms of a given illness are recorded on one page with the suggested courses of treatment listed on the facing folio. The practical nature of the text ensured that it became widely popular. This text was translated into Latin by the Jewish physician Faraj ibn Salem in Sicily in 1280 CE. Ibn Jazlah became known in the West under his Latinised name Buhahylyha Bingezla. This present copy shows that his knowledge had travelled from the Abbasid heartlands in Iraq to Egypt, where it was still valued at the Mamluk court some three centuries later.
Another probably 15th-century copy of this work is in the collection of the Bodleian Library (Emily Savage-Smith, A new catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, Vol. I: Medicine, Oxford, 2011, pp. 573-5, no. 161). For a slightly later copy of this same work with a detailed description in Arabic of the contents dated to 2 Muharram AH 994 / 24 December 1585 CE, see Nikolai Serikoff, Arabic Medical Manuscripts of the Wellcome Library - A Descriptive Catalogue of the Haddad Collection, Leiden 2005, pp. 123-31. Two further copies are in the Chester Beatty Library and two are also in the collection of the British Library.
A very closely related binding with block-printed figural doublures is attributed by David James to Anatolia or Jazirah circa 1250-1350 CE (The master scribes, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992, no. 48, pp. 196-97). A binding which has very closely related medallions on the front and back plates and has doublures decorated in the same fashion, which are however not figural, is in the collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris (Marie-Genevieve Guesdon & Annie Vernay-Nouri, L'art du livre arabe du manuscrit au livre d'artiste, Bibliotheque nationale de France, 2001, no. 108, p. 148). The binding in the Bibliotheque nationale is catalogued as being original to a manuscript dated to 1153 CE.
Folio (181 x 135 mm). Arabic manuscript on paper, consisting of 93 folios plus two flyleaves, each with between 20 and 30 lines per page, written in black naskh script with important words and headings highlighted in red ink, set within red outlined tables, marginal index letters in red ink with later added pagination in black ink below; set in an earlier tooled and gilded brown morocco binding, with an ogival central medallion, ropework spandrels, and strapwork border, exceptionally decorated block-printed doublures with figures of angels set on floral ground.
With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.
Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220