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Type of Item
Women's Customs Among the Tajiks: Fortune-Telling
This photograph of Tajik women engaged in fortune telling (vorozhba, in Russian; fal'bin in Central Asian languages) is from Turkestan Album, one of the richest sources of visual information on the cultural monuments of Central Asia as they appeared in the 19th century. This multi-volume work was produced in 1871-72 under the patronage of Konstantin P. von Kaufman, a Russian army general and the first governor-general of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire's Central Asian holdings were called. Kaufman held that position from 1867 to 1886, during which time ...
The Keys of Mercy and the Secrets of Wisdom
This manuscript is an invaluable source for understanding alchemical doctrines and practices in the Islamic world during the Middle Ages. Its author, the polymath Mu‛ayyad al-Dīn al-Tuġrā’ī, was born in 1062 AD in Persia (present-day Iran) and worked as a secretary in the Seljuk court. He later was appointed vizier in Mosul (present-day Iraq), but his career came to a dramatic end in 1121, when, following the disgrace of his protector, he was falsely accused of heresy and beheaded. Notes on al-Tuġrā’ī’s biography were added to ...
The Book of Proof of the Secrets of the Science of Weights and Measures (Part 3)
This manuscript consists of a section of Kitāb al-burhān fī asrār ‘ilm al-mīzān (Book of proof of the secrets of the science of the weights and measures) by the Persian alchemist Aydamur ibn ´Alī ibn Aydamur al-Gildakī (also seen as al-Jaldakī, died circa 1342). His name indicates that he was born in Jaldak, in present-day Afghanistan. Over the course of 17 years, al-Gildakī traveled to Iraq, Asia Minor, West Africa, Egypt, Yemen, Hejaz, and Syria. These journeys are recounted in another of his works, Kitāb nihāyat al-ṭalab fī sharḥ kitāb ...
Bulgarian Dream Interpreter, Printed for the Curiosity of Readers
Published in 1844, Bulgarian Dream Interpreter is an early Bulgarian astrological publication, part of a Balkan tradition of apocryphal and astrological works. It was intended to assist readers in interpreting their dreams by providing an alphabetical list of dreams and interpretations. The work is anonymous, but the publisher was Zaharia Carcalechi, a noted Bucharest journalist and publisher who produced works mainly in Romanian, but who also published 12 Bulgarian-language books in the period between 1840 and 1850.
“The Instrument of the Beginners in the Science of the Beginning of the Months and of the Years” and “The Gem of the Disciples in the Explanation of the Instrument of the Beginners”
While in the West, particularly in modern times, poetry and science tend to differ sharply in their approach to describing the world, this is not the case in the Arabic-speaking world, where the use of the literary form of the poetical treatise has produced remarkable works in a variety disciplines, including mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, and astrology. The present manuscript shows that the tradition of the Arabic poetical treatise was not confined to the Middle Ages but was still alive in the 19th century. Aḥmad ibn Qāsim Al-Miṣrī (1814-1856) is the ...
The Book of the Hyacinths in the Knowledge of the Dates of the Year
Little is known about the author of the present work, al-Ḥusayn ibn Zayd ibn ʻAlī Ibn Jaḥḥāf, apart from what can be inferred from the brief dedicatory note at the beginning of the present manuscript. It states that the work was composed for the Faṭimid caliph al-Ḥākim bi-ʼAmr Allāh, who died during the first quarter of the 11th century. The Kitāb al-Yawāqīt fī maʻrifat al-mawāqīt (The book of the hyacinths in the knowledge of the dates of the year) is composed of 12 calendrical ...
Thirteen Essays of Guan Gongming
This work consists of essays and a summary of Yi divination purportedly written by Guan Lu (208–55), also known as Guan Gongming. Guan Lu was a famed practitioner of divination during the Three Kingdoms era (220–65). He was known to have been able to diagnose the causes of diseases and foresee a person’s fate by casting lots. A number of works credited to him were listed in the histories of the Sui and Tang dynasties. This manuscript edition was issued during the Qianlong period (1736–95) of ...
A Comprehensive Calendar Arranged by Subject Matter
Lei bian li fa tong shu da quan (A comprehensive calendar arranged by subject matter) was compiled by Xiong Zongli (1409–82) during the Ming dynasty. He combined two other Ming works, Song Huishan tong shu (Encyclopedic astronomical calendar) by Song Huishan and Li fa ji cheng (Collected works on astronomical calendars) by He Shitai, made corrections, and published them under a new title. The work is in 30 juan. In the first 19 juan, tables of contents list the names of all three authors. In juan 20–30, no ...
Complete Book on the Judgment of the Stars
Abu al-Hassan Ali Ibn Ali Ibn Abi al-Rijal (also known as Haly or Hali, and by the Latinized versions of his name, Haly Albohazen and Haly Abenragel) was a late 10th-century–early 11th century Arab astrologer and astronomer who served as court astrologer in the palace of the Tunisian prince, al-Muizz Ibn Badis. His best known treatise, Kitāb al-bāri' fi ahkām an-nujūm (Complete book on the judgment of the stars), was one of the works translated by the team of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim scholars that King Alfonso X of ...
Complete Book on the Judgment of the Stars
Abu al-Hassan Ali Ibn Ali Ibn Abi al-Rijal (also known as Haly or Hali, and by the Latinized versions of his name, Haly Albohazen and Haly Abenragel) was a late 10th-century–early 11th-century Arab astrologer and astronomer who served as court astrologer in the palace of the Tunisian prince, al-Muizz Ibn Badis. His best-known treatise, Kitāb al-bāri' fi ahkām an-nujūm (Complete book on the judgment of the stars), was one of the works translated by the team of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim scholars that King Alfonso X of Castile (reigned ...
Introduction to the Art of Judgments of the Stars
Abu al-Saqr Abd al-Aziz Ibn Uthman Ibn Ali al-Qabisi (known in Latin as Alcabitius, died 967), was a famous Arab astrologer and mathematician who lived in the palace of Saif Al-Dawla Al-Hamdani in Aleppo, Syria. He is best known for his Introduction to the Art of Judgments of the Stars, a treatise on judicial astrology or the forecasting of events from the positions of planets and stars. The book was translated into Latin in the 12th century by Johannes Hispalensis and was highly prized in medieval Europe for its astrological ...