July 23, 2015

Map of the City of Baracoa

Felipe Bauzá (also seen as Bausá, 1764−1834) was a Spanish cartographer. He trained in the technical branch of the Spanish Navy, where he proved himself to be a skilled draftsman and mathematician. For a time he worked under the direction of Vicente Tofiño, the most-esteemed Spanish cartographer of the day, on the production of the Atlas marítimo de España (Maritime atlas of Spain). He was the cartographer aboard the corvette Descubierta on the famous Malaspina Expedition of 1789−94, which, under the command of naval officer and explorer Alessandro Malaspina, visited nearly all of the Spanish possessions in the Americas and Asia. Back in Madrid, in 1797 Bauzá was appointed director of Hydrographic Office. This pen and India ink manuscript map by Bauzá is from 1831. The map is illuminated in gouache in green, sepia, and pink. Relief is represented by shading, and roads and farm plots are shown. The letter key in the lower left indicates important buildings and structures, including the parish church, the market, and the batteries guarding the harbor. The scale is in varas castellanas (Castilian yards, an old unit of measurement that varied with time and place, equivalent to about 0.84 meters). The map has great importance from both a geographical and historic perspective. Baracoa was founded by the Spanish on August 15, 1511 under the name Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa (City of Our Lady of Assumption of Baracoa). Located on the eastern tip of the island, on the Bahía de Miel (Bay of Honey), it is the oldest city in Cuba and the starting point for the 16th-century Spanish colonization.

Topographical, Historical, and Statistical Map of the City of San Salvador de Bayamo

Rafael Rodríguez Rodríguez was a Spanish soldier, surveyor, and geographer whose principal cartographic works were published between 1840 and 1870. He compiled and created the first atlas of Cuba, which was published under the title Atlas Cubano (The Cuban atlas) in 1841. An assistant to the artillery corps, Rodríguez achieved the rank of captain of artillery. He carried out military topographical work on the island, and in 1844 became a member of the government statistical commission. Presented here is one of 16 maps that make up the Atlas Cubano, a planimetric view of Bayamo, one of the most important cities in Cuba in the 1840s. The legend of the map makes it clear that by 1841, Bayamo was a well-developed city, with many churches, a hospital, jail, chapter house, theater, and other public buildings. The scale is given in varas castellanas (Castilian yards, an old unit of measurement that varied with time and place, equivalent to about 0.84 meters). Below the map are geographical, historical, and statistical notes on Bayamo and a chronology of important events from 1551 to 1836.  Founded by Governor Diego Velázquez on the November, 5, 1513, as San Salvador de Bayamo, it was the second city established in Cuba by the Spanish. Today it is the chief municipality of Granma Province. It is one of the most important and wealthiest cities in Cuban history, a major industrial city and a center of economic, social, and cultural development for the province. It is also considered the birthplace of Cuban nationality, where for the first time the national anthem of Cuba was sung.

Picturesque Map of Havana with House Numbers

José María de la Torre y de la Torre (1815-73) was a Cuban geographer, archaeologist, historian, and educator. De la Torre’s 1849 Plano Pintoresco de La Habana con los números de las casas (Picturesque map of Havana with house numbers) has great importance from a geographic point of view. The map shows the names of the streets, house numbers, promenades, fortifications, and public buildings, and the division of the city by neighborhoods. The scale is in varas castellanas (Castilian yards, an old unit of measurement that varied with time and place, equivalent to about 0.84 meters). An inset map in the lower right shows the port of Havana and nearby areas, including the fortifications of El Morro, La Punta, and La Cabaña. The map is framed by 14 engraved illustrations from Album Pintoresco de La Isla de Cuba (Picturesque album of the island of Cuba) by Federico Mialhe (1810−81), giving the map an artistic beauty. The engravings depict: a fashionable crowd gathered at the Noble Havana Fountain (also known as the Indian Fountain) on Isabel II Promenade, the Gran Teatro de Tacón, the jail and penitentiary, Havana Cathedral, the military hospital, Villanueva train station, Morro Castle, a fine general view of Havana, the gas reservoir, the Templete (a monument to the religious foundation of Havana), the grand house of the Count of Fernandina, the almshouse, City Hall, and Havana circus building.

The New Chemical Medicine Invented by Paracelsus

Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus (died September 24, 1541), was a Swiss-German Renaissance-era alchemist, physician, and medical reformer. Al-Ṭibb al-jadīd al-kīmiyāʼī alladhī ikhtaraʻahu Barākalsūs (The new chemical medicine invented by Paracelsus) is an anthology of alchemical works from Europe. The first part consists of an Arabic translation of Paracelsus including an introduction, and four chapters (each divided further into sections). The introduction is an overview by Hermes Trismegistus, called “the Egyptian,” of the invention of alchemy, its subsequent transfer to the Hellenistic and Islamic worlds, and its focus on the treatment and perfection of metals. The introduction also discusses Paracelsus and his transformation of alchemy into a field of medicine, with its dual focus on the perfection and purification of metals, as well as on preserving the health of the human body. Chapter one is entitled al-Juz’ al-naẓarī min ashyā’ gharība wa huwa al-ṭibb al-kīmīyā’ī fī al-umūr al-ṭabī‘īya (On the speculative part of paranormal objects, i.e. alchemical medicine in regard to the affairs of nature). This chapter includes a discussion of such topics as al-hayūlā al-ūlā wa al-sirr al-akbar (prime matter and the great secret). The second chapter, entitled Asās ṭibb al-kīmīyā (On the principles of alchemical medicine) has sections on asbāb al-amrāḍ (the causes of illness), al-nabḍ (the pulse), and al-ʻalāj al-kullī (general treatments). The third chapter, Bayān kayfīyat tadbīr al-adwīya (An explication of the manner of managing medicines), discusses chemical procedures involving metals and minerals. The fourth chapter, al-ʻAmaliyāt yaqūl juz’ī (Operations referred to as special), discusses such procedures as the distillation of water. The second part of this anthology consists of an Arabic translation of the alchemical works of Oswald Crollius (died December 1609), a physician and alchemist who was influenced by Paracelsus. The colophon includes the name of the scribe as well as the date Muḥarram 20, 1050 AH (May 12, 1640).

The Book of Instant Recovery

Kitāb burʼ al-sāʻa (The book of instant recovery) is a short medical tract by the famous Islamic scientist and physician Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi (died circa 925). The work consists of 24 short sections, which list the remedies for common afflictions. The work includes sections on al-udāʻ (headaches), wajʻ al-asnān (toothache), and al-iʻyā wa al-taʻab (exhaustion). The colophon lists the scribe’s name as Ghulam Muhammad Pursururi and the completion date for the manuscript as Dhu Qa’da 17, 1173 AH (July 1, 1760). Based on Qānūncha (The little canon) by Mahmud ibn Muhammad al-Jaghmini, which was completed by the same scribe the following month, the provenance of this manuscript is likely the city of Sialkot in present-day Pakistan. The name Razi is a reference to Abu Bakr’s hometown of Ray (near modern-day Tehran), a city famed for its scholarship in the early Islamic centuries. Razi is often considered among the most free-thinking philosophers of Islam.  He demonstrates his originality in such works as al-Shukūk ʻalā Jālīnūs (Doubts concerning Galen), and Kitāb al-judarī wa al-aba (The book of smallpox and measles), which is considered the first medical study of smallpox.

Rapid Healing

Sadr al-Din Ali al-Gilani al-Hindi (died April 10, 1609) was a renowned physician of the 16th century. His uncle was a physician and may have served as Sadr al-Din’s first teacher. Sadr al-Din completed his studies in Persia (likely in his region of birth, Gilan), and subsequently emigrated to India and the court of Akbar I (reigned 1556–1605). Presented here is an 18th century manuscript of Sadr al-Din’s al-Shifā’ al-ʻājil (Rapid healing). In the introduction, the author states that he composed this work in response to Razi’s Bur’ al-sa’a (The book of instant recovery). Sadr al-Din is also the author of a well-regarded commentary on Avicenna’s al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb (Canon of medicine). The colophon of this work is in Persian, and the scribe, Ghulam Muhammad Pursururi, lists the completion date for the manuscript as Dhū Qaʻda 17, 1173 AH (July 1, 1760). Based on Qānūncha (The little canon) by Mahmud ibn Muhammad al-Jaghmini, which was completed by the same scribe the following month, the provenance of this manuscript is likely the city of Sialkot in present-day Pakistan.

The Little Canon (on Medicine)

The title of Mahmud ibn ʻUmar al-Jaghmini’s medical text, the Qānūncha, (or Qānūnja in Arabic), is a reference to Avicenna's seminal work on medicine, al-Qānūn (The canon). The suffix -cha is a diminutive in Persian, so the title of al-Jaghmini’s work can be translated as “The little canon.” The Qānūncha is written in ten chapters: 1, al-Umūr al-ṭabiʻiya (On natural philosophy); 2, al-Tashriḥ (On anatomy); 3, Aḥwāl badan al-insān (On the states of the human body); 4, al-Nabḍ (On the pulse); 5, Tadbir al-aṣḥḥā’ wa ‘alāj al-maraḍ (On the management of those of sound health and treatment of illness); 6, Amrāḍ al-ra’s (On diseases of the head); 7, Amrāḍ al-aʻḍā’ min al-ṣadr ilā asfal al-surra (On diseases of organs housed between the chest and the navel); 8, Amrāḍ baqiyat al-aʻḍā’ (On diseases of the remaining organs); 9, al-ʻIlal al-ẓāhira fi ẓāhir al-jasad wa al-hummayāt (On visible afflictions of the body and fevers); and 10, Quwwā al-aṭaʻama wa al-ashriba al-ma’lūfa (On the strengths of familiar food and drink). Each of these chapters is further divided into sections. The name al-Jaghmini refers to the place of origin of the author in modern-day Uzbekistan (known during al-Jaghmini’s time as Khwarazm). The author of the Qānūncha has been occasionally identified with the 13th-century astronomer Mahmud ibn Muhammad ibn ʻUmar al-Jighmini (died circa 1221), who wrote a hugely popular work, the Mulakhkhaṣ fi al-hay’a (Epitome of astronomy), though such an identity is controversial. A popular medical work, Mahmud al-Jaghmini’s Qānūncha inspired a large number of commentaries. A marginal note in one such commentary by Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Tabib al-Misri (Gotha 1930) lists al-Jaghmini’s year of death as 745 AH (1344−45) , which, if correct, would preclude a unitary identity for the two authors in question. The present manuscript contains numerous marginal notes in Arabic. Part of the colophon, including the date for the manuscript and the name of the scribe, has been effaced. The name of Sialkot (in present-day Pakistan) is still visible, indicating the likely provenance for the manuscript. The date of completion of the manuscript has been inscribed in a different hand, indicating Muharram 4, 1174 AH (August 15, 1760). The scribe ends the work with a poem in Persian asking the reader for prayers.

The Wonders of Creation

ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharāʼib al-mawjūdāt (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing) by Zakriya ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (circa 1203−83) is among the best known texts of the Islamic world. It is often referred to as “The Cosmography.” The work begins with an introduction, and is followed by two sections, the first on supra-terrestrial, the second on terrestrial creatures. Al-Qazwini concludes his work with a section on monsters and angels. The genre of Aja’ib al-makhluqat (The wonders of creation), of which al-Qazwini’s work is the most famous example, includes texts in Arabic and Persian that describe the marvels of the heavens and the earth. Numerous manuscripts of al-Qazwini’s work have survived, as have several Persian and Turkish translations. The present manuscript was completed on the third day of Ramadan, 1254 AH (November 20, 1838), by Muhammad ibn Muhammad Fadil. It is uncharacteristically devoid of illustrations.

Recovery from Diseases and Remedy for Pains

The full name of the author of Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām (Recovery from diseases and remedy for pains) is Khidr ibn ʻAli ibn Marwan ibnʿAli ibn Husam al-Din, originally called al-Qunawi, also known as Hajji Pasha al-Aidini and al-Misri, thus identifying his provenance as Konya, Turkey. In his introduction to Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām, the author describes his extended stay in Egypt where he practiced as a physician at the celebrated Maristan al-Mansuri as well as at other hospitals, thus validating the appellation al-Misri (the Egyptian). He also identifies himself as al-Khattab (the preacher), a title by which he is commonly referred to in Islamic sources. Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām is divided into four chapters: Chapter one is Kullīyāt juz’ay al-ṭibb aʻʻilmīya wa ‘amalīya (On an introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of medicine); chapter two is al-Aghdhīya wa al-ashriba wa al-adwīya al-mufrada wa al-murakkaba (On food and drink and medicines simple and compound); chapter three is called al-Amrāḍ al-mukhtassa bi ‘uḍw ‘uḍw min al-ra’s ilā al-qadam (On diseases specific to an organ of the body from the head to the feet); and chapter four is al-Amrāḍ al-ʻāma allatī lā tukhtaṣ bi ‘uḍw dūn ‘uḍw (On diseases not specific to an organ of the body). Each chapter is further divided into sections. Chapter four, for example, consists of sections on fevers, swellings, sores, and other topics. The final portion of the present manuscript has sustained damage and is missing a number of pages. Hajji Pasha's non-medical works include books on logic, philosophy, Qurʼanic exegesis, and kalam (theology). He dedicated Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām to ʻIsa ibn Muhammad ibn Aidin, the fourth ruler of the Aidinid house (reigned 1360–90). The beylik established by the Aidinids was one of several beyliks that appeared in western Anatolia and filled the power vacuum that resulted from the fall of the Seljuks of Rum in the waning years of the 13th century.

Clues in the Science of Interpreting Dreams

Ghars al-Din Khalil Ibn Shahin al-Zahiri was born in 1410−11, probably in Jerusalem (or perhaps Cairo). His father was a mamluk of the first Burji sultan (al-Malik al-Zahir) Sayf al-Din Barquq, from whom the nisba (name indicating provenance) al-Zahiri derives. Ghars al-Din Khalil studied in Cairo and—under the Mamluk sultans Barsbay and Jaqmaq—achieved a remarkable career as an administrator, serving at Cairo (as vizier), as well as at Alexandria, Karak, Safed, and Aleppo (as nazir, or overseer). Al-Ishārāt fī ʻilm al-ʻibārāt(Clues in the science of interpreting dreams) is divided into 80 chapters on visions of God Almighty. Some examples are: Allāh taʻālā wa al-ʻarsh wa al-kursī (The throne and power of God) in chapter one; al-Malā’ika wa al-waḥy wa al-samāwāt wa al-aflāk (Of angels, the revelation, and the heavens) in chapter two; al-Saḥāb wa al-maṭar wa al-thulj (Of clouds, rain, and snow) in chapter five; al-Anibīyā’ wa al-āl wa al-ṣahāba wa al-tābiʻīn wa al-khulafa’ wa ansābihim (Of prophets, and their family and companions, and those who followed them and of caliphs and their kin) in chapter seven; Iblīs wa al-shayātīn wa al-jinn wa al-kahāna wa al-siḥr (Of Satan, the jinn, and divination and sorcery) in chapter 79; and Nawādir yataʻayyan bihā al-insān ʻalā al-tauba (Of wonders through which man [is led] to repentance) in chapter 80. In his introduction to his book, Ghars al-Din takes pains to set his work in the framework of sharia law, quoting the Qurʼan (34:14) and numerous instances from hadith literature, providing as well a list of books upon which his work is based. A prolific author and poet, Ghars al-Din wrote approximately 30 works, the most celebrated of which is probably Kashf al-mamālik wa bayān al-ṭuruq wa al-masālik (An exploration of kingdoms and an explication of roads and paths), written in about 1453, in which he provides a vivid picture of Egypt under the Mamluks. Sadly, this work has only survived in its abridged form, Zubdat kashf al-mamālik (Selections from the Kashf al-mamālik). He died in 1468−69 in Tripoli.