The Luminance of Explication and Mysteries of Proof in the Understanding of the Paradigms of the Science of Weights and Measures. Part Four


This alchemical manuscript consists of part of treatise three through treatise eight of the fourth part of Anwār al-bayān wa asrār al-burhān fī fahm awzān ʻilm al-mīzān (The luminance of explication and mysteries of proof in the understanding of the paradigms of the science of weights and measures). It was composed by the Persian alchemist Aidamur ibn ʻAli ibn Aidamur al-Jaldaki (also seen as al-Gildaki, died circa 1342). The author's name indicates that he was born in Jaldak, in present-day Afghanistan. Over the course of 17 years, al-Jaldaki traveled to Iraq, Asia Minor, West Africa, Egypt, Yemen, Hejaz, and Syria. These journeys are recounted in another of his works, Nihāyat al-ṭalab fī sharḥ kitāb al-muktasab (The limits of pursuit in regard to the explanation of the book of acquired [knowledge]). Al-Jaldaki is considered one of the last outstanding Islamic alchemists. The first part of his book concerns the relationship between the Creator and the created world, as well as the relationships between the higher and lower planes of existence in their various manifestations. This part also contains information on the relationship of metals to their corresponding planets and other chemical information. The second part is on ʻAli (the Prophet’s son-in-law and a central figure to the esoteric traditions of Islam) and the Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana. The third part is a commentary on Nihāyat al-ṭalab wa aqṣā ghāyāt al-arab (The utmost pursuit and the remotest scheme) by the Persian-born Jabir ibn Hayyan (circa 737–circa 815). The fourth part of the work is described by the author as “On that which we have promised in our books and on what we have indicated … to those endowed with gnosis.” It treats alchemical topics such as the properties of metals and of their associated planets. The manuscript presented here includes a portion of the esoteric knowledge contained in this part of the work. It commences with the latter part of the third treatise (“On plants” and “On minerals”) and proceeds to the eighth treatise, which serves as the concluding section of the entire work and deals with the elixir of life. The manuscript was sumptuously produced and is illuminated throughout. The text is interspersed with esoteric alchemical symbols and contains an illustration of a laboratory apparatus. The space for several tables was left blank and never filled. The manuscript was created in 1797.

Last updated: June 16, 2016