Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kitab al-Bulhan

3=headed devil in arabic manuscript

devils in a group

group of devils in arabic manuscript

many devils with captured human

stylised flames arising from rocks

man on camel and dragon snake

human holding snake

birds swoop on snakes

zodiac fish pisces arabic

centaur zodiac sagittarius arabic

arabic zodiac figure - man riding goat and vignettes

middle eastern house and lifting machine

middle eastern house and palm tree

arabic mss - middle eastern buildings

arabic manuscript curved design

The 'Kitab al-Bulhan' (Book of Wonders) [MS. Bodl. Or. 133] manuscript is a collection of Arabic divinatory treatises produced in the late 14th century hosted by the Oxford Digital Library. (note the thumbnails button up top once you click through into the manuscript proper)

There are approximately 80 illustrations among the astrological, astronomical and geomantic texts in the ~180pp manuscript. Many of the pages without illustrations have patterned arrangements of the text.
1. fols. 1a-80b, Kitab al-Bulhan / Isfahani, including:
--fols. 2b-25a, Kitab al-Mawalid, Book of Nativities,
--fols. 28a-33a a catalogue of demons,
--fols. 33b-43b, 45b-46b, Marvellous stories (of the prophet Muhammad),
--fols. 44a-45b, 47a-49b, The seasons and the climates.
2. Fol. 81a, page in Turkish.
3. fols. 81b-93b, paintings of the constellations of the zodiac
4. fols. 94a-130a, al-Durar wa-l-yawaqit fi ilm al-rasd wa-l-mawaqit, Astronomical tract / Abu al-Abbas Ahmad bin Abi Abd Allah Muhammad
5. fols. 131-163, Kitab al-Fal (Treatise on kur'ah / Ja'far al-Sadik
6. Fols. 163b-169a, al-Kurat al-mubarakah / Irbili
7. fols. 170a-173b, Alphabetic divination
8. fols. 174a-176a, Treatise on the zodiac"

Some of the zodiac illustrations are very similar to those seen in a BNF manuscript from a little later (Persian Zodiac) - no doubt both were derived from the same 9th century Persian astrology work by Abû Ma'shar.

All of the above images (and a few more) were uploaded to Wikimedia. [previously]


zazie said...


Now, Pecay, you are the greatest blogger on earth

Karla said...

Those first few make me want to get back into mask-making. Three-headed beings with forked tails! The landscapes are awfully fine too, of course.

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