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48 results
The Luminous Treasure with Acceptable Answers to Matters of Faith
Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Laṭīf ibn Aḥmad al-Bashbīshī (1631–85) was an Islamic jurist of the Shāfiʻī school of jurisprudence. He was born and died in the village of Bashbīsh in the region of Al-Mahalla in the Nile delta of Egypt. He studied Islamic jurisprudence in Cairo and taught at the Cairo-based Al-Azhar Mosque, long considered the foremost institution in the Islamic world for the study of Sunni theology. Al-Tuhfa al-Saniyya bi Ajwibat al-Masaa’il al-Mardhiyya (The luminous treasure with acceptable answers to matters of faith) is a collection of writings ...
Contributed by
King Abdulaziz University Library
Fortress of Dio: Plans of Plazas and Forts of Portuguese Possessions in Asia and Africa
This drawing shows the fortress of Diu, located on an island off the northwest coast of India. In 1509, the Portuguese defeated the forces of the Sultan of Gujarat in the Battle of Diu, thereby securing dominance over trade routes in the Indian Ocean. Construction of this fortress-garrison complex began in 1535, under an agreement with the sultan, but the agreement fell apart and the sultan’s troops attacked the fort in 1537. The fortress was reconstructed in 1545 by João de Castro (1500-48), a Portuguese naval commander and the ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Fortress of Chaul: Plans of Plazas and Forts of Portuguese Possessions in Asia and Africa
This drawing shows the fortress of Chaul, one of Portugal’s defense complexes along the western coast of India. The Portuguese first settled at Chaul in 1521 and constructed a fort, which was rebuilt several times. The structure shown in this drawing most likely is the one built in 1613, which featured expanded defense works.
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Fortress of Ormuz: Plans of Plazas and Forts of Portuguese Possessions in Asia and Africa
This drawing shows the Portuguese fort at Ormuz, located on the Persian Gulf island of Hormuz. In its heyday, Ormuz was one of the most important ports in the Middle East, controlling trading routes between India and East Africa. Before coming under Portuguese control in the early 1500s, Ormuz was a city-state that flourished as an independent kingdom. Its prime location along trade routes made it one of the wealthiest cities in the world. The Portuguese controlled the city and its port from 1515 until 1622, when they were expelled ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Guyana, or, the Kingdom of the Amazons
This map of colonial Guiana (present-day Suriname) is the work of Jan Jansson (died 1664), a Dutch cartographer who married into the Hondius family of illustrious mapmakers. Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612) and his sons, Jodocus and Henricus, engraved maps of the Americas and Europe, and were instrumental in popularizing the work of Gerard Mercator, the developer of the Mercator Projection that allowed navigators to use a flat map reflecting the curvature of the globe. The Hondius family published an early pocket-size atlas of the Mercator map. The atlas series grew under ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
The Crown Jewel
This manuscript of Durrat al-tāj (The crown jewel) is a Shiite prayer book, consisting of prayers to be said when making a visitation to the tomb of Caliph ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (circa 601−61). ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib is one of the most revered religious and holy figures of Islam. His honorary name, Amīr al-Mu‘minīn, translates from Persian as the “prince of the believers.” Written works by ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and sayings attributed to him are sacred to the Shiite faithful, particularly among Persian speakers. The ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
The History of the Roman Provinces of the Near East
This Arabic manuscript is a history of the Roman provinces of the Near East, with special reference to King Herod the Great and the dynasty he founded. The manuscript lacks numerous pages at the beginning and end. The remaining portion contains the history of Roman Palestine during the first century BC until the destruction of the temple by Roman emperor Titus in 70 AD. The author, title, and date of copying are unknown. The work has been tentatively ascribed to the 17th century. The text is unadorned except for marking ...
Contributed by
The American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library
General Ledger, 1600–1608
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a ledger that provides a summary of the daily journaux (account books) of the activities of the press in the years 1600–1608 when ...
Contributed by
Museum Plantin-Moretus/Print Room
Ibuki Dōji, the Boy from Mount Ibuki
This picture scroll of an otogizōshi (Japanese fairy tales of the Muromachi era, 1392−1573), recounts the childhood of Shuten Dōji, the oni (demon) who would one day be subdued by the real-life warrior, Minamoto no Yorimitsu. It tells the story of Shuten Dōji’s birth and his childhood on Mount Ibuki in the old province of Ōmi, protected by wild animals and feeding on magical herbs that prevented old age and death, up to the time he went to live on Mount Ōe-yama in the former province of Tanba ...
Contributed by
National Diet Library
Taishokan
Taishokan is a story loosely based on the life of Fujiwara no Kamatari (614−69), who was a famous court official. In the story, the daughter of Kamatari is married to the emperor of China. When she hears that her father is going to build the main hall of the Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara, she sends him Mugehōju, a precious crystal with divine powers, as a gift. While a military escort is sailing to Japan with the crystal, dragons attack the ship and the treasure is carried down to the ...
Contributed by
National Diet Library
Shahnameh
Shahnameh (Book of kings) was composed by the revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdegerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. Considered the national epic of Iran, the book was widely read throughout the Persian-speaking world. This manuscript copy was made in India in the 17th or 18th century. The text is written in nastaʻliq script ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Safinah Fragment
This calligraphic fragment is the first page of an album in a longitudinal shape (safinah). At the top are a fine illuminated panel and finial (sarloh) with gold and blue flower and vine motifs. In the upper and lower corners, two gold and blue illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) fill the spaces between the rectangular frame and the diagonal lines of text. The text is written in black nasta'liq on beige paper. It includes three bayts (verses) praising God and describing humans' inability to comprehend His power: "Praise ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Verses in Persian and Chaghatay
This calligraphic fragment includes a number of verses in Persian and Chaghatay Turkish (Turkish spoken in Central Asia). A continuous Persian lyrical poem (ghazal) is written in the top and bottom horizontal rectangular panels. Another ghazal appears written in diagonal in the right and left vertical columns. Both ghazals are by the famous Persian poet Shaykh Sa'di (died 1292) and address moral issues. In the central text panel, verses in Chaghatay Turkish are written in black nasta'liq script on beige paper, surrounded by cloud bands on a gold ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Black Practice
This calligraphic sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script nasta'liq is favored over the more "broken" shikastah script. These sheets--known as siyah mashq (literally “black practice”) in Persian--were entirely covered with writing as a means of practicing calligraphy and conserving paper. In time, they became collectible items and thus were signed and dated (this fragment, however, does not appear to be signed or dated). Many fragments such as this one were given ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Entertainments for Twelve Months
This colored, hand-drawn picture scroll presents annual events and seasonal plays in Kyoto, month by month. This particular drawing depicts children holding brooms and playing a ballgame called gicchō on a street in Kyoto. The style of the calligraphy and brushwork suggest that the scroll was made early in the Edo period (1600-1867). The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland, has the same type of picture scroll.
Contributed by
National Diet Library
The Book of Aroodh
This manuscript, by an unknown author, is an incomplete work that endeavors to apply Arabic poetry metrics to Ottoman Turkish poems. It starts with the seas (or metrics) of al-mutaqarib, ar-ramal, and al-munsarih. The transcription is possibly from the 17th century. The manuscript is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870-1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of ...
Contributed by
University Library in Bratislava
The Burdah Poem
This illuminated small codex contains a famous poem in honor of the Prophet Muhammad popularly known as “Qaṣīdat al-Burdah” (The poem of the mantle), which was composed by Sharaf al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Būṣīrī (died 694 AH [1294 CE]). This copy was executed in a variety of scripts, probably in Iran, by Ḥabīb Allāh ibn Dūst Muḥammad al-Khwārizmī in the 11th century AH (17th century CE). The first page (folio 1b) of the manuscript features an illuminated rectangular headpiece with five inner panels of text executed in the following scripts: muhaqqaq (gold ...
Contributed by
Walters Art Museum
Pandect
This text is an Arabic translation of a Christian work originally written in Greek in the 11th century, known as the Pandect (or Pandektes) of Nikon of the Black Mountain. The Greek title of the book means The Universal (Book). The Arabic title, Al-Ḥāwī, has almost the same meaning: The Comprehensive Book. The text is divided into 63 sections and offers an exposition of Christian doctrine and life based on excerpts from the Bible, the church fathers, and church canons. The work was popular among Arabic-speaking Christians, as evidenced by ...
Contributed by
Greek-Catholic Diocese of Aleppo
Five Doctrinal Works
This 17th-century manuscript is a collection of five doctrinal works translated into Arabic from Greek. Three of the works are by John of Damascus (died circa 750): On the Orthodox Faith, Dialectics, and Against the Heretics. John of Damascus was often read in both Greek and Arabic (he himself was bilingual, although he wrote only in Greek). The other two texts are by the monk, Paul of Antioch, Bishop of Sidon in the 13th century. They are a letter entitled That the Creator is One and that Christians are not ...
Contributed by
Greek-Catholic Diocese of Aleppo
The Blossoms of Thoughts Regarding the Precious Stones
Azhār al-Afkār fī Jawāhir al-Ahjār (The blossoms of thoughts regarding precious stones) is considered the most detailed and complete treatise of the Middle Ages on stones and their properties. Lapidaries, or treatises devoted entirely to the discussion of precious stones and their features, can be traced to ancient Greece. Pliny, in his Naturalis Historia (Natural history), mentions at least 20 authors as sources of his knowledge of stones, even though, of the works he cites, only the treatise On Stones by Theophrastus (circa 371–287 BC) has survived. Theophrastus’s ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Commentary on "The Compendium of Plain Astronomy"
The author this commentary, Ṣalāh al-Din Musa ibn Muḥammad, also known as Qādī  Zāda (the son of the judge), was born in Bursa (present-day Turkey) in 1364 and died in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) in 1436. His first teacher, al-Fanāri, suggested that he move to the scientific centers of the time, Herat in Khorasan (present-day Afghanistan) or Bukhara or Samarkand in Transoxiana, in order to develop his extraordinary ability in the mathematical and astronomical sciences. Following this advice, Qāḍī Zāda presented himself to the Samarkand court of the very promising Ulugh ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress