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imagery in islamic alchemy
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Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Sat Jun 27th, 2009 11:07 pm
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There is a relatively recent book by Okasha El Daly, Egyptology: The Missing Millennium. Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings (London, 2005), which reproduces a number of pages from the manuscript of Kitab al-Aqalim by Abu ‘l-Qasim al-‘Iraqi (British Library in London, MS Add 25724). Some of the imagery is strikingly similar to what appears in later Latin alchemical iconography. But I have just found another page reproduced in Arcana sapienza by Michela Pereira (p. 89, originally reproduced in another Italian book), showing three birds of different colours, reminiscent of the three birds in Splendor solis (image 13).
I wonder if any other images from that manuscript have been published? It would be interesting to see their ordering/sequence and possible influence on later European imagery.

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sun Jun 28th, 2009 05:49 pm
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
There is a relatively recent book by Okasha El Daly, Egyptology: The Missing Millennium. Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings (London, 2005), which reproduces a number of pages from the manuscript of Kitab al-Aqalim by Abu ‘l-Qasim al-‘Iraqi (British Library in London, MS Add 25724). Some of the imagery is strikingly similar to what appears in later Latin alchemical iconography. But I have just found another page reproduced in Arcana sapienza by Michela Pereira (p. 89, originally reproduced in another Italian book), showing three birds of different colours, reminiscent of the three birds in Splendor solis (image 13).
I wonder if any other images from that manuscript have been published? It would be interesting to see their ordering/sequence and possible influence on later European imagery.


1. Dr. El Daly has some interesting articles and related material online:

http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=712

http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=1105

2. Another image from the MS here (wonderful!):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/renzodionigi/3475862892/

3. Possible link with the Voynich MS :? discussed here:
http://www.ciphermysteries.com/2008/06/28/egyptian-arabic-link-to-the-vms

4. MS Arabe 2676 in the BN in Paris seems to have similarities. Possibility of obtaining scans?

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25724.jpg

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Mon Jun 29th, 2009 02:06 pm
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Thanks, Paul. The demon in rasta pyjamas is really cute :-)

Nick Pelling's (Voynich website) information that the MS is actually 18th c. is quite distressing as in that case the influence may have also come back from Europe.

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Mon Jun 29th, 2009 04:33 pm
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
Thanks, Paul. The demon in rasta pyjamas is really cute :-)

Nick Pelling's (Voynich website) information that the MS is actually 18th c. is quite distressing as in that case the influence may have also come back from Europe.


Pelling seems to imply that this is an 18th copy of a 14th century original:

'Might the lettering in a similar 14th century Arabic document (of which this is apparently a copy) have been the specific inspiration for the Voynich’s cipher alphabet?'

adammclean
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 Posted: Mon Aug 31st, 2009 10:12 am
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Rafal T. Prinke wroNick Pelling's (Voynich website) information that the MS is actually 18th c. is quite distressing as in that case the influence may have also come back from Europe.


I have noticed that a number of arabic manuscripts are late copies of earlier material. One wonders how much they were reworked during the copying. Perhaps some scholar will have done some research on copying in the arabic manuscript tradition in general.

Last edited on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 10:16 am by adammclean

adammclean
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 Posted: Mon Aug 31st, 2009 10:15 am
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Here are two pages of chemical and pharmaceutical processes from manuscripts in the Freer Gallery in Washington.

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arabic_alchemy02.jpg

Last edited on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 10:16 am by adammclean

adammclean
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 Posted: Mon Aug 31st, 2009 10:17 am
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The second item.

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arabic_alchemy01.jpg

adammclean
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 Posted: Mon Aug 31st, 2009 10:18 am
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Here is a page from an arabic manuscript in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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arabic_alchemy03.jpg

adammclean
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 Posted: Tue Sep 1st, 2009 09:17 pm
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Here are couple of illustrations from  a manuscript.

British Library MS. Oriental. Add. 25724

This has a series of astrological and alchemical treatises.

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BL Oriental MS 1.jpg

adammclean
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 Posted: Tue Sep 1st, 2009 09:17 pm
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The second illustration fom the BL department of oriental manuscripts.

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BL Oriental MS 2.jpg


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