39 results in English
The Baptistery of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev
This book is about the baptistery of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. The name of the cathedral comes from the sixth-century Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) and means “Holy Wisdom,” rather than dedication to a particular saint. Designed as “the new Constantinople” to represent Eastern Christianity, Saint Sophia in Kiev was first constructed in the 11th century. The baptistery was built into the cloister a few years later and its walls still bear frescoes from the 11th–12th centuries. By the early 20th century, the baptistery was in a ...
“The Scientific Essay on the Need for Compound Remedies” from the "Canon of Medicine"
Abū Alī al-Ḥusayn Ibn Sīnā (980–1037) was one of the intellectual luminaries of the medieval world. Known in the Latin West as Avicenna, this Persian polymath was often referred to by Muslim authors as al-Shaykh al-Ra'īs, in acknowledgement of his role as one of the foremost savants of the Islamic world. A prolific author, Ibn Sīnā wrote on topics as varied as metaphysics, theology, medicine, psychology, earth sciences, physics, astronomy, astrology, and chemistry. His fame in Europe rests principally on his Canon of Medicine, which was translated into ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Bazaar of Isfahan
This photograph shows a part of the bazaar in Isfahan, Iran as it appeared in 1944. A bazaar is a marketplace or assemblage of shops where a wide variety of goods and services are displayed for trade. “Bazaar” is derived from the Persian word for “market,” and many believe that the bazaar is one of the most important landmarks of Persian civilization. Archaeologists have found evidence of bazaars in different parts of Iran, and scholars have concluded that the development of cities was based on not only a rising population ...
Trevelyon Miscellany, 1608
Thomas Trevilian, or Trevelyon, a London craftsman of whom little is known, created his miscellany in 1608 when he was about the age of 60. The bulky manuscript of 290 double-sided folios contains texts and images appropriated from books, woodcuts, and engravings of his day. Part one of the manuscript (leaves 3–36) consists of historical and practical information: a time line; an illustrated calendar; moralizing proverbs; a series of computational tables and astronomical diagrams; lists of families linked to William the Conqueror; distances between London and cities around the ...
Map of the Mayance Nations and Languages
This circa-1934 map, prepared for Maya Society Quarterly and printed by the National Printing Office, Guatemala, shows the distribution of the Mayance (Mayan) nations and languages in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, and western Honduras in the period from about 1000 to 1500. The map is based on the research of William E. Gates (1863–1940), an American Mayanist and collector of Mesoamerican manuscripts who worked for many decades on deciphering Maya hieroglyphic writing. Among the languages mapped by Gates are Maya (now known as Yucatec Maya), Cholti, Q'eqchi', and ...
Damascus Pentateuch
The Damascus Pentateuch, from around the year 1000, is one of the oldest extant Hebrew biblical manuscripts. It includes full vocalization, accentuation, and Masoretic annotation. The manuscript is defective in its beginning, as it starts with Genesis 9:26; Exodus 18:1–23 is also missing. Written on parchment in oriental square script, the text is in three columns per page, 20 lines per column. The manuscript belonged to the Jewish community of Damascus (hence its name) until 1915, when it was acquired by the collector and bibliophile D.S ...
Revised Zhenghe Edition of Classified and Practical Basic Pharmacopeia Based on Historical Classics
The author of this work is the famous Song physician Tang Shenwei, a native of Huayang (in present-day Chengdu, Sichuan province) , who came from a family of many generations of physicians. He was particularly known for his practice of herbal medicine and his collections of prescriptions found in classic works. Si ku quan shu zong mu ti yao (Annotated bibliography of the complete imperial library) lists two works attributed to him: Daguan ben cao (Classified herbal medicine of the Daguan period) in 30 juan, and Zheng lei ben cao (Classified ...
Contributed by National Central Library
The Newly Illustrated Manual of Acupuncture Points on a Bronze Figure, with Supplemental Annotations
This work was compiled by imperial order by Wang Weiyi (987–1067), the Hanlin Academy physician, in 1026 in Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng, Henan Province). Two large stone steles containing the text were also erected so that copies of it could be made. In his preface, Xia Li (985–1051), a high Song official, states that Wang Weiyi made steadfast efforts in compiling the work and consulted both ancient and contemporary sources. To demonstrate his manual visually and not just in words, in 1027 Wang Weiyi had two human-sized bronze figures ...
Contributed by National Central Library
The Nabhani Offering on the History of the Arabian Peninsula
Al-Tuḥfat al-Nabhānīya fī tārīkh al-jazīra al-ʻArabīya (The Nabhani offering on the history of the Arabian Peninsula) is by Muḥammad ibn Kahlīfa ibn Ḥamd ibn Mūsā al-Nabhānī (1883 or 1884−1950 or 1951). The author was a teacher at the Masjid al-Ḥarām in Mecca (as was his father). The younger al-Nabhani started this work after his visit to Bahrain, and a request that he write a book treating the history of the current rulers of Bahrain, as well of its ancient emirs and their dealings with friend and foe ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Sacramentary of Augsburg
This Ottonian manuscript dates from the early 11th century and was executed for the cathedral of Augsburg. It bears all the hallmarks of an ambitious project, but it was left incomplete for some reason. The text alone, interspersed with gold letters on every page, creates an impression of luxury. The prayers for special ecclesiastical fields feature decorated initials with gold tendrils, which stand out against a colored ground. For the principal festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun, full-page ornamental initials were planned but not finished. Similarly, the pictorial decoration of ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Four Gospels: The Evangeliary of Uta (Codex of Uta)
Illuminated for Abbess Uta of Niedermünster (1002−25), this Bavarian Gospel manuscript has been described by Georg Swarzenski as "perhaps the most important Western illuminated manuscript of its period." Its unique quality resides especially in the subtly articulated argument between the text and the accompanying miniatures. The text is drawn from such diverse sources as the Bible; the fields of theology, mathematics, and music; and the works of Pseudo-Dionysius, the Areopagite, in the translation by Johannes Scotus Eriugena (circa 800−circa 877). The scholar Bernhard Bischoff attributed the work to ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
A Catalogue of Palm-leaf and Selected Paper Manuscripts Belonging to the Durbar Library, Nepal
Mahāmahopādhyāya Hara Prasād Sastri, an Indian scholar affiliated with the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and Cecil Bendall, professor of Sanskrit at Cambridge University in England, made a research expedition to Nepal in 1898–99. A major objective of the expedition was to examine and catalog the palm-leaf manuscripts in the Durbar Library, many of which had been acquired by Mahārāja Sir Vīra Sumsher Jung Bahādur Rānā. According to Bendall, this collection, “as regards the antiquity of the documents,” was “surpassed by no Sanskrit Library known to exist.” This book, printed ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Chronicles of Senegalese Mauritania. Nacer Eddine
Ismaël Hamet was an interpreter and official in the service of the French army in the colony of French West Africa. His 1911 Chroniques de la Mauritanie sénégalaise (Chronicles of Senegalese Mauritania) is one of the few scholarly books about the region of the Western Sahara, and Mauritania in particular, to be published in the West before the mid-20th century. The first part of the book consists of an overview chapter on the geography, history, and social conditions of Mauritania; a chapter on the natural resources and commerce of the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji: Commentary on Key Words and Phrases, Volumes 55-57
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji: Genealogy, Volume 58
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji: A Sequel, Volume 59
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji: Index, Volume 60
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji
This book is an old movable-type edition of one of the best-known classic works of Japanese literature. It is said to be the first printed version of Genji monogatari (The tale of Genji) and appears in 54 volumes produced in the Keichō Era (1596–1615). This is one of the earliest books for which hiragana types were used, and only two others are extant as scribal copies. Hiragana is a cursive script of the Japanese syllabary. One of the oldest novels in the world, Genji monogatari was written in the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Summary of Disagreements Between at-Taftazani and al-Jurrujani
This work by an unknown author lists 23 issues in Arabic rhetoric (balaagha) on which two prominent scholars in the field, Saad ud-Deen at-Taftazani (died 1390 [791 AH]) and Abu Bakr Abdul Qahir al-Jurrujani (died 1078 [471 AH]), disagreed. The manuscript was recreated from an earlier original of uncertain date by Mustafa Garahishari in 1805 (1220 AH). 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 ...
Gospel Book from the Bamberg Cathedral (Reichenau Gospel)
The gospel from the cathedral of Bamberg is one of the most important masterpieces of book painting from the Benedictine abbey on the island of Reichenau in Lake Constance in southern Germany. In the 10th and 11th centuries, this abbey was the site of what was probably Europe’s largest and most influential school of book illumination. Book production reached its artistic peak between around 970 and 1010–1020, a period known as the Ottonian Renaissance (after Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III, German kings and Holy Roman Emperors ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
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 ...
Qur'anic Verses
This fragment includes on its recto the last verse (110) of the 18th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-Kahf (The cave). The heading of the next chapter (19) entitled Surat Maryam (Mary) appears on the fragment's verso. The Qur'anic text itself is executed on rag paper in old Persian Naskh and provided with interlinear Persian translations. Like the chapter heading on its verso, the last line of Surat al-Kahf is executed in plaited eastern Kufi, with knots executed in black ink on the letters' stems and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes verses 35–36 of the 40th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Ghafir (The forgiver), also known as al-Mu'min (The believer). Verses 36 and 37 of the same surah continue on the fragment's verso. This chapter of the Qur'an uses the story of an individual believer (Moses) among people ruled by an arrogant leader (Pharaoh) to show how faith can prevail against evil. These two verses state that God closes the hearts of "arrogant and obstinate transgressors," such as Pharaoh, who believes ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Illuminated Panel and Qur'anic Chapter
This illuminated rectangular panel appears at the very beginning of a Qur'an executed in early Naskh script, dating from about the 11th–13th centuries. On the verso of the folio appears al-Fatihah (The opening), the first chapter of the Qur'an. Ornamental pages such as this one decorate the start or end of Qur'ans from the ninth century onward. Also called "carpet pages," they provide an ornamental and structural break in the manuscript. Rectangular panels filled with geometric motifs and provided with a finial or leaf-like medallion on ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes some of the terminal verses (43–53) of the 30th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-Rum (The Romans). This chapter deals with world power, as symbolized by the Persian and Roman empires, and the Day of Judgment. The surah advises the reader to turn to the right religion before that day. The verso of this calligraphic fragment includes the last seven verses of the Surat al-Rum, as well as the first four verses of the subsequent chapter, Surat Luqman, which advises righteousness and wisdom ...
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Qur'anic Verses
These two calligraphic fragments include verses from the 11th chapter of the Qur'an, entitled Hud (The prophet Hud). The first fragment's verso includes verses (116−23) of Surat Hud, as well as the chapter heading and first four verses of the 12th surah, entitled Yusuf (Joseph). Surat Hud provides some stories linked to the prophets (e.g., Noah and Moses), stressing the moral lessons learned through such narratives. Many verses are eschatological in character and warn of the punishment awaiting sinners, for example: “The Day it arrives, no ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 17−22 of the 18th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Kahf (The cave). The text continues on the fragment's verso with verses 22−31. Surat al-Kahf relates the story of the Companions of the Cave, also known as the Sleepers of Ephesus. These Christian martyrs were immured in a cave near Ephesus during the persecutions by Decius in about 250. They awoke in the fifth century during the reign of Theodosius II, when Christianity was firmly established. They fell asleep once more and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes, on the left side, the surah heading and first two verses of the 14th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Ibrahim (Abraham). On the right side appear verses 6−7 of the same surah, a continuation of the chapter's previous verses (2−6) present on the folio's verso. Combined, the fragment's recto and verso provide the title and first seven verses of Surat Ibrahim, which discuss how each nation received its own prophet to deliver God's message. In verses 5−6 ...
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The Keys to the Heavens: An Explanation of “Islamic Law”
Mafâtîh al-Jinân: Šharh Šhir’at al-Islam (The keys to the heavens: An explanation of “Islamic law”) is a commentary on the work Šhir’at al-Islam (Islamic law) by Mohammad ibn Abu Bakr al-Jughi (1098–1177). Al-Jughi was known as Imam Zadeh, a scholar and an imam in Bukhara (present-day Uzbekistan). The commentary, by Ya’kub ibn Sayyid ali al-Burssawi (died circa 1524), is an extensive book that discusses belief, manners, and daily practices in an Islamic framework. The work consists of 61 sections, called books. Special attention is paid ...
Works of Medical Science
Opera medicinalia (Works of medical science) is a collection of pharmacological treatises by several authors. The main work, Canones (Canons), was attributed to an Arab physician in the 11th century and was later published in Europe under the name Johannese Mesue of Damascus. Also known as Mesue the Younger, the Pseudo-Mesue, and Yahya Ibn Masawayh, he was a monophysite Christian who died in Cairo in 1015, and who is said to have written pharmacological works. The first part of this book, Canones universalis (Universal canons), deals with treatment regimens. The ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
“The Book of Simple Medicine and Plants” from “The Canon of Medicine”
Abū Alī al-Ḥusayn Ibn Sīnā (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Avicenna, 980–1037 AD; 370–428 AH) was a Muslim Persian polymath and the foremost physician and philosopher of his time. In his Introduction to the History of Science, the eminent historian of science George Sarton (1884–1956) characterized Ibn Sina as “one of the most famous exponents of Muslim universalism and an eminent figure in Islamic learning,” noting that “for a thousand years he has retained his original renown as one of the greatest thinkers ...
Contributed by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Zawzani's Commentary on the Seven Suspended Odes
The Muallaqaat (The suspended odes) are long, classical Arabic poems written in the pre-Islamic period. They are referred to by this name because it was believed Arab critics of the time chose to hang them on the walls of the Kaaba in Mecca (a holy place for the tribes of Arabia even before Islam) in deference to the greatness of these poems and to set the standards for all Arabic poetry to come. They typically start with a pause by the lover and his companions to memorialize the remnants of ...
Contributed by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Critical Study of What India Says, Whether Accepted by Reason Or Refuted
Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Alberonius, 973–1048 AD; 363–439 AH) was an 11th-century Muslim polymath whose works and scholarly interests spanned the physical and natural sciences, mathematics, astronomy, geography, history, chronology, and linguistics. Al-Biruni was born in Kath, Khuwarazm, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Ghazni, in what is today east-central Afghanistan. He wrote more than 120 works and is considered the founder of Indology for his detailed description of 11th-century India. The crater Al-Biruni on the moon is named after ...
Contributed by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
The Tale of Genji: Volumes 1-54
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Small Mirror of Genji
Genji Monogatari (The tale of Genji) is widely regarded as the pinnacle of classical Japanese literature. It tells the story of Hikaru Genji, son of the Japanese emperor who, for political reasons, is relegated to commoner status and has to start a career as an imperial official. The text covers his entire life, concentrating especially on his private life as a courtier, including his numerous love affairs. The tale was written around the year 1000 at the imperial court of Heian-kyo (Kyoto) by a lady-in-waiting at the court whose real ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Three Books on the Soul
Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Rushd (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Averroes, 1126–98) was a Muslim jurist, physician, and philosopher from Cordoba, Spain, best known in the West for reintroducing Aristotle to Europe and in the East for his medical works. He studied theology, law, and medicine, and wrote important works in all of these fields. He served as the religious judge of Seville in 1169–72 and as the chief judge of Cordoba in 1172–82. In 1169, Ibn Rushd began writing a series of ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Useful Stories and Verses as Sources for Guidance and Emulation
Timbuktu (present-day Tombouctou in Mali), founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries there contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. The ethical conduct of business and government is the subject of the exemplary stories contained in al-Fawā’id wa-al-Qalā ...
Classical Islamic Education Institutions in Hindustan
This work covers the history of madrasah education in India, from its earliest foundations under Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi (979–1030), a patron of learning who ruled over an extensive empire that included most of present-day Afghanistan, eastern Iran, Pakistan, and northwestern India. Madrasahs, or Islamic religious schools, became widespread after the beginning of the Delhi sultanate in 1206, making them among the oldest active institutions in India. The early madrasahs were centers of learning, which educated the sons of rulers and personnel for government administration. When Muslim rule declined with ...
Tables of the Body for Treatment
Between 1050 and 1150, a new medical literary form was espoused by several physicians living in different cities in the Arab world—the tabular form. One of these physicians was Yaḥyá ibn ʻĪsá ibn Jazlah, a Christian born in Baghdad, who converted to Islam in 1074 and died in Baghdad in 1100. In this work, Taqwīm al-abdān fī tadbīr al-insān (Tables of the body for treatment), Ibn Jazlah divides diseases into 44 categories. Each category comprises eight conditions, and each condition is discussed in 12 columns, with the following titles ...
Contributed by Yale University Library