The Precious Necklace Regarding Weigh Scales


This treatise on scales, measures, and weighing instruments is by a prominent member of the Jabartī family, a distinguished clan of Somali-Egyptian Ḥanafī ‘ulamā’ in Ottoman-ruled Egypt. The author, Ḥasan al-Jabartī, was the father of the famous historian ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Jabarti (1753-1826 [1167-1241 AH]). Ḥasan al-Jabartī married into wealthy military families and also inherited substantial wealth. His relatives included merchants and ship owners, and he spent part of his life in business. He had a reputation for deep learning and was credited with restoring Egypt’s prestige as a center of learning in his time. This treatise confirms that Ḥasan’s learning extended beyond strictly religious matters. Biographical sources indicate that he studied and taught various branches of mathematics, and that he was a master of calendar-reckoning, calligraphy, engraving, and carving. The subject of this manuscript, “al-mawazīn al-qabbin,” is also listed among his fields of expertise. This expression sometimes has been mistranslated as “expertise on steelyards.” But, as the contents demonstrate, Ḥasan al-Jabartī also was interested in the construction and operation of various types of scales, including large crane scales, i.e., al-mawazīn al-qabbin, which could be utilized in shipyards for weighing heavy cargos. The treatise offers a detailed introduction to the design and operation of various kinds of scales. The present manuscript, made in 23 Rabī‘ I 1273 AH (December 14, 1854), is based on a copy made in 1194 AH (1780) from the author’s original version.

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Title in Original Language

العقد الثمين فيما يتعلق بالموازين

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Physical Description

42 leaves (32 lines), bound : paper, illustrated ; 23 x 16 centimeters


Last updated: October 17, 2011