Book of Horses


The Kitab al-khayl (Book of horses) is a short treatise on horsemanship by an unknown author. The first half of the work presents learning attributed to Imruʼ al-Qays, the celebrated pre-Islamic poet who is generally believed to have flourished in the sixth century and to have been a son of the last Kindite king. He was a key figure in early Arabic poetry. In this section the author discusses the signs that can help identify whether a horse is pure blooded as well as to assess its courage and daring. The second half of the work discusses the treatment for various ailments, such as al-jarab (mange). This short work has sustained damage, including water damage that has effaced much of the opening section. The section headings are rubricated. The work is undated. It and other similar works on horsemanship resulted in part from the pre-Islamic and Islamic cultural traditions of nomadism and the breeding of horses.

Last updated: September 29, 2017