Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Memoirs of Babur

Baburnamah : a 16th c. autobiographical, illuminated, Persian / Islamic manuscript (copy), courtesy of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

The manuscript miniatures below are cropped: please click through to the full-sized, full-page images hosted in Walters' Flickr set.

Mughal manuscript miniature of battle

The Fall of Samarkand

Mughal manuscript miniature of a Persian battle
The battle of Sultan Ḥusayn Mīrzā against
Sultan Masʿūd Mīrzā at Hiṣṣār in the winter of 1495

Indian mughal miniature of castle siege
The siege and battle of Isfarah

Islamic manuscript miniature of Sultan receiving guests; falconry
Ḥamzah Sulṭān, Mahdī Sulṭan and Mamāq Sulṭān pay homage to Babur

Islamic manuscript painting; rural setting, sultan on horseback
Foray to Kuhat (Kohat)

Persian manuscript miniature of date palms, birds and dogs
Date Trees of Hindustan

MS miniature from India - people on raft on river
Babur, during his second Hindustan campaign, riding a raft from Kunar back to Atar

Islamic battle in Hindustan in manuscript painting
The battle of Panipat and the death of Sultan Ibrāhīm, the last of the Lōdī Sultans of Delhi

Islamic MS miniature of horse/rider procession into castle
Babur entering Kabul

Indian mughal MS miniature of Hindu devotees outdoors partly clothed
Babur and his warriors visit the Hindu temple Gurh Kattri (Kūr Katrī) in Bigram

MS miniature - Turkish/Islamic/Persian/Indian : hunting
Babur and his party hunting for rhinoceros in Swati

Mughal miniature painting of peacock and other animals 1500s
Animals of Hindustan: monkeys, rodents and a peacock

"Recognized as one of the world’s great autobiographical memoirs, the Baburnamah is the story of Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur (1483-1530), who conquered northern India and established the Mughal Empire (or Timurid-Mughal empire).

Born in Fergana (Central Asia), Babur was a patrilineal Timurid and matrilineal Chingizid. Babur wrote his memoir in Chaghatay Turkish, which he referred to as Turkic, and it was later translated into Persian and repeatedly copied and illustrated under his Mughal successors.

The present copy in Persian, written in Nasta'liq script, is a fragment of a dispersed manuscript that was executed in the 16th century." {very slightly edited: PK}

Walters manuscript W.596 (Memoirs of Babur or Baburnamah) is available from the Walters Art Museum website or from their Flickr set.

Follow along on Twitter: Walters Art Museum and Will Noel (Manuscript Curator). Thanks Will! [Also see Will's great blog, Parchment and Pixel, where he features items of interest from the Museum].

The Walters Art Museum's online collection of manuscripts and rare books includes one hundred and forty Islamic works; or see the list: The Digital Walters.

Previously: arabic || illuminated

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Neapolitan Cephalopods

I Cefalopodi!

cephalopod lithograph

mollusca illustration

lithograph of mollusca species

lithograph of cephalopod

monograph illustration of cephalopod

1920s lithograph of cephalopoda species

marine species book illustratio

UPDATE: The following quote relates to the author of a different volume
"Adolf Naef (1883-1949) was a Swiss zoologist and palaeontologist, famous for his work on cephalopods and systematics.

[He] studied at the University of Zurich, under the guidance of Arnold Lang, a former Professor of Jena University and close friend of Ernst Haeckel*. Naef visited and worked in Anton Dorn’s Zoological Station in Naples, Italy in 1908, studying the squid Loligo vulgaris, the subject of his dissertation.

Naef returned to the Naples Zoological Station in the mid 1920s to study cephalopods, publishing a two-part monograph in the Station’s 'Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel und der Angrenzenden Meers-Abschitte' ('Fauna e Flora del Golfo di Napoli') series, which formed the basis for his two short but significant monographs on systematic theory. In 1922 he became Professor at the University of Zagreb, and in 1927 was Professor of Zoology at the University of Cairo."

'I Cefalopodi' is hosted by the Biodiversity Heritage Library on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution

The overall series from Naples is dated 1896 (presumably when it began) and this mid-1920s monograph (Vol. 35) on cephalopods features about thirty lithographs, most in black & white. (The digital book consists of only illustration plates)

UPDATE (Sep. 2011) I am indebted to Carlo C who emailed to advise the following:
"Actually the book they are from is not monograph n.35 by Naef, but rather the 1896 monograph n.23 by Giuseppe Jatta.

The author of the magnificent color and b/w plates you posted is Comingio Merculiano (1845- 1915), a professional watercolor painter hired in 1885 by prof. Anton Dohrn as in-house illustrator for the Naples Zoological Station.

He has been one of the best scientific illustrators of all times and this book on cephalopods is probably his masterpiece."
UPDATE II: (Sep 2011) The Biodiversity Heritage Library blog featured 'I Cefalopodi' in its Book of the Week.
Perhaps via; I don't quite recall. Click through on the images above to see them the right way up!

Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel -- I Cefalopodi (sistematica) di Giuseppe Jatta 1896

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dutch Dress

Traditional costumes in Holland in the 18th century

1803 milk maid and customer engraved illustration

engraving of 2 ladies at an old piano-type instrument

engraving of female fishmonger pleading for more money from customer

man with spade standing next to woman (early 1800s)

illustration of famer meeting peasant woman on the way to the market

pipe-smoking 19th c tricorned hat-wearing man meets outdoors with peasant woman (colour engraving)

illustration of 2 Dutch women, one selling butter; the other with enormous overhanging hat gestures with outstretched arm

engraved sketch of 2 ladies, 1 seated; both wearing customary 19th c Dutch clothing

man stands mending net; seated woman spins yarn (coloured engravings of Dutch customs 1803)

vicar doffs hat to woman at her front door (hand-coloured engraving)

well-dressed woman in sled alongside standing woman (engraving of 19th c Dutch customary clothes)

(click through for slightly enlarged versions; mouse-over for captions in French)

'Afbeeldingen van de kleeding, zeden en gewoonten in de Bataafsche Republiek, met den aanvang der negentiende eeuw' [Pictures of the dress, manners and customs of the Batavian Republic, at the beginning of the 19th c] by E Maaskamp, 1803 was recently uploaded through the Frisian Historical and Literary Centre {@Tresoar}

"The Batavian Republic was the successor of the Republic of the United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on January 19, 1795, and ended on June 5, 1806, with the accession of Louis Bonaparte to the throne of the Kingdom of Holland."
"..a nice series of hand-coloured plates showing various Dutch costumes and scenes from Dutch daily life, including ice-skating, a maid pouring milk, and a young girl playing the piano, engraved by Lodewijk Portman (1772 - ca. 1813), who excelled in illustrating customs and folk-lore.

These plates were published and re-issued several times by the famous firm of Evert Maaskamp in Amsterdam, specialized in publishing very beautiful hand-coloured plates of costumes, landscapes and views." [Source]

Previously: costumes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chikanobu Woodblock Prints

Ukiyo-e woodblock prints by (Toyohara) Yoshu Chikanobu,
from the late 19th century [source]

Swimming at Okazaki
Swimming at Okazaki

Oai no kata was born in Okazaki and was both beautiful and strong, although of low social status. One day while swimming in a river, a young man tried to bother her, but she quickly defeated him. According to the cartouche, even the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu praised her courage.

Sanuki, moon over Kotohiki Shrine, Princess Shiranui and Butoda (woodblock illustration)
Sanuki, moon over Kotohiki Shrine, Princess Shiranui and Butoda

The Hachiman Shrine at "Zither Strumming Hill" (Kotohikiyama) gets its name from the Shinto god Hachiman of Usa, who reportedly appeared here in 703 to the sound of koto music. The hilltop shrine buildings overlook a beach famous for its many weathered pines, seen here. On the verandah a woman plays a koto, attracting the attention of a man near the shrine gate (torii). [1884]

Ukiyo-e print: Priest Mongaku
Priest Mongaku

The figure crouching on a rock beneath a waterfall is Mongaku (1139-1203), who was born into the Watanabe military clan and initially named Endo Morito.

However, when he was in his late teens, he decided to become a Buddhist monk and changed his name to Mongaku. To test his spiritual sincerity and physical endurance, he travelled in the middle of winter to the Province of Ki where he planned to practice austerities by standing in the icy cold Nachi Waterfalls for 21 days while reciting 300,000 incantations to the deity Fudo Myoo.

After 4 days Mongaku collapsed and was carried downstream, where he was rescued and revived by one of the messengers of Fudo. Mongaku immediately went back to the falls, determined to complete all 21 days, but after just 3 days he again lost consciousness in the freezing waters. This time two divine boys, Kongara and Seitaku, seen in the print, helped him up and warmed the waters so that he could complete the three weeks of austerities.

Thereafter Mongaku was thought to have special powers given by Fudo. Several years later he would befriend Minamoto Yoritomo and help the Genji rise to power.

Wang Pou (Oho) visits a grave during a storm
Wang Pou (Oho) visits a grave during a storm

Wangpou was so diligent about calming his mother's fear of lightning that even after her death, he would go to her tomb during a rainstorm to comfort her. By contrast, this modern woman, caught in a summer downpour, seems unconcerned by the thunder. To further emphasize the contemporary setting, Chikanobu includes a rikshaw, a new mode of transportation in 19th century Tokyo. [1890]

Mitsunaka's dream of the Dragon Woman (Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock print)
Mitsunaka's dream of the Dragon Woman

In a dream, the Daughter of the Dragon King appeared to Minamoto Mitsunaka (912-997), father of Yorimitsu and founder of the Tada Genji lineage. [1886]

Kato Kiyomasa
Kato Kiyomasa

The alleged poisoning of the great warrior Kato Kiyomasa (1562-1611) was the subject of a kabuki play that premiered in 1807, but due to government censorship at the time, the main character's name was changed Sato Masakiyo.

According to legend, Masakiyo was summoned to the shoguns's castle in Kyoto and offered a cup of wine, which he knew was poisoned but which he drank out of loyalty. The lethal mix was slow acting, and allows the actor several dramatic scenes. The penultimate 8th Act takes place in Masakiyo's own castle keep where he prepares to die, seated in his armor on a campaign camp stool. Beside him is his famous battle helmet with horns flanking an oversized courtier's cap. Behind is the white banner that Kato Kiyomasa always carried into battle, with the Buddhist inscription "Namu myoho renge kyo" (Praise to the Lotus Flower of the Everlasting Secret Teachings) a talisman supposedly written by the famous Japanese spiritual leader Nichiren (1222-82).

In this print, Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1839-1903) is Masakiyo, a role that resonated with the samurai ethos of devotion and duty. Kato Kiyomasa was a major political figure in the wars to consolidate Japan and a ruthless leader during the invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597, when he was called the Kishokan (Demon General). Early in his career he had joined forces with Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-98) to become one of the famous Seven Lances (Shichihon yari) of Hideyoshi during the 1583 Battle of Shizugatake.

As a reward for bravery, he was named the military governor (daimyo) of Kumamoto in southern Kyushu. As a staunch Buddhist he came into conflict on the island with other daimyo, who were recent converts to Christianity. Thus, Kiyomasa's sincere belief and vigorous support of Buddhism became an important part of his persona. In the late 19th century, Kiyomasa was again publicly popular as one of those who had promoted Japan's political interests in Korea, which was a topic of discussion in the Meiji government. [1886]

woodblock illustration by Toyohara Chikanobu
Snake: Shinobazu Benzaiten

A woman leans lightly forward to play a koto. While she appears to be inside, backed by a folding screen and seated near a paper lantern that glows softly, the inset shows blossoming cherry trees around Shinobazu Pond at Ueno, with its shrine to the Buddhist deity Benzaiten.

Snakes are associated with this goddess of music, eloquence, longevity and beauty, and with sexual passion. Images of Benzaiten often include a large white snake. The signature on this secondary image seems to indicate that the artist En'un is a woman. [1894]

Tale of the bamboo cutter (19th c. colour woodblock print from Japan)
Tale of the bamboo cutter

The oldest known Japanese narrative, this sad fairy tale dates back to the 9th or 10th century. In this tale Kaguya-hime was found inside a bamboo stalk by a bamboo cutter, who took her home and raised her as his daughter.

As she grew up the fame of her beauty spread, until five princes asked for her hand. Kaguya-hime, not really wanting to marry any of them, set five impossible tasks for her suitors; when they all failed, she was able to remain with her foster parents. After this, the Emperor of Japan came to see the beautiful girl and, falling in love, asked her to marry him. He, too, was refused. However, in her 20th summer she began fall into fits of melancholy when the moon was full. Eventually she revealed she was one of a supernatural race who lived upon the moon, and it was time for her to return to her people.

Despite the emperor placing guards around her house, the moon people came and put a robe of feathers upon Kaguya-hime's shoulders that caused her to forget her earthly memories. Climbing up the slopes of Mt Fuji the party returned to the heavens where Kaguya-hime became an immortal moon maiden. [1891]

Divine Prince Ugayafuki Aezu
Divine Prince Ugayafuki Aezu

Princess Toyotama, daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea, gives birth to the Divine Prince Ugayafuki Aezu, by turning from her human form into a dragon. [1886]

Tiger, Kagurazaka Bishamon
Tiger, Kagurazaka Bishamon

A boy is dressed like the Buddhist Guardian King Bishamonten, holding a trident and wooden pagoda (that represents the relics of the historical Buddha). The boy's mother holds a calico cat (a "tiger" symbol) while the family servant giggles and points at her young master. The inset shows a temple hall dedicated to Bishamonten, whose name appears on the red paper lantern inside the door.

The gateway has modern wrought iron panels affixed to a traditional stone gatepost, and a rickshaw is being pulled down the street - all indications of the modern Meiji era. However, the stores seem to be traditional buildings, and the merchants have contributed the red paper lanterns that flank the gate, reading "mid-merchants" (shonai chu) association. [1893]

Oshu, moon over Mano Village, customary silk fulling, Princess Nadeshiko
Oshu, moon over Mano Village

Under a summer moon in Oshu (Mustu Province), Princess Nadeshiko, who had been fulling (finishing) silk, is attacked by the robber Tsuchikuro. She parries his sword thrust by throwing a fulling mallet into his face. [1885]

Ukiyo-e woodblock print: Sansho dayu
Sansho dayu

Sansho Daiyu sold into slavery Yasu-hime and Zushiomaru, the daughter and son (shown here) of the provincial governor Iwaka Masauji, who had been overthrown and exiled.

Iwaka's loyal retainer Tatebe Kanamenosuke attempted to rescue the children, but was himself captured and sentenced to death, to be beheaded at dawn. Sansho's daughter Osan turned into a fowl as the sun rose on the day of execution and chewed off the ropes of the prisoner.

Sansho then realises that Tatebe is his long lost son, and allows his son to kill him for all his evil deeds. Then, according to the 18th century kabuki play Yura no Minato Sengen Choja, Tatebe & Osan commit suicide.

"Yoshu Chikanobu (1838-1912) was a popular artist in the Meiji period, the era from 1868 to 1912 when Japan underwent rapid westernization and the emperor was reinstated as ruler.

Like many other print designers of these years, Chikanobu worked with subjects of traditional Japanese woodblock prints, such as actors, courtesans, famous sites, and beautiful women, while at first reflecting western conventions in art and picturing current events, such as the Saigo Rebellion and various battles of the Sino-Japanese War. In fact, his prints are frequent illustrations in history books about the Meiji era.

However, he later changed his approach and embraced more traditional themes stemming from his recollections of life in old Edo, before the modern period ushered in by the Meiji emperor."

['Chikanobu: Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints' - Vassar College]

The Yoshu Chikanobu illustrations were sourced from the Chikanobu and Yoshitoshi Woodblock Prints collection at Claremont Colleges Digital Library {Scripps College}. They have nearly 300 of his prints online.

Previously: Japan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ornithologia Manetti

Hand-coloured engravings from Vol. 4 of Saverio Manetti's 5-volume treatise on birds from 1776:

'Storia Naturale Degli Uccelli Trattata con Metodo e Adornata di Figure Intagliate in Rame e Miniate al Naturale. Ornithologia Methodice Digesta Atque Iconibus Aeneis ad Vivum Illuminatis Ornate'

[Natural History of the Birds Treated Systematically and Adorned with Copperplate Engraving Illustrations, in Miniature and Life-Size] {source}

hand-coloured 18th c engraving of a Godwit (bird)

A godwit (migratory wading bird; genus Limosa)

engraving of a pelican, hand-coloured
Pink-backed pelican [possibly] (Pelecanus rufescens)

sketch of 2 canaries; one in tree on flying above
Atlantic or common canaries - Serinus canaria

18th c engraving of bedraggled orange-haired heron standing on 1 leg
Heron (genus Ardea)

Red Curlew (Genus Numenius)
Red curlew (genus Numenius)

action sketch of long-tailed tit
Long-tailed tit or Aegithalos caudatus (old name: Parus group)

18th c engraving of Grey Heron, wings akimbo
Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

drawing of a pink-headed stork standing on one foot
Stork species (genus Ciconia)

The Eurasian Bittern or Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae
The eurasian (or great) bittern (Botaurus stellaris);
a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae

Two swallows on the wing
Swallow species (genus Hirundo)

engraved illustration of a crane standing on one leg
Crane (family Gruidae)

Two species of hummingbird in a tree, one with a long tail (18th c engraving)
The collared inca hummingbird of Surinam (Coeligena torquata)
a steamer-tail hummingbird (genus Trochilus), the national bird of Jamaica

2 short-beaked birds, 1 in flight : flycatcher species
Flycatchers from genus Muscicapa and Oenanthe

engraving of a skylark and the head of another skylark species
Skylark - Alauda arvensis - and the head of a related species

[click through to larger versions; all care etc taken with the captions,
but they may be a little questionable at times]

Saverio [Francis Xavier] Manetti (1723-1785) was a prominent Florentine physician and botanist and a member of some of the leading scientific societies in 18th century Europe.

Manetti's extraordinary Natural History of Birds was commissioned by Maria Luisa, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and the engraving and hand painting was undertaken - over the course of seven years - by the artists, Violante Vanni and Lorenzo Lorenzi. The series features both Latin and Italian text and Manetti followed the (largely deprecated) nomenclature system proposed by MJ Brisson, despite corresponding with the father of modern taxonomy, Carl Linneaus.
"The production of its five massive folio volumes must have been one of the most remarkable publishing ventures ever undertaken in Florence. Begun in 1767, and [based on birds taken from the collection of Giovanni Gerini], it was completed ten years later. It was larger, better engraved and more vividly coloured than any previous work on birds, but these are not its only claim to fame.

The attitudes of the birds themselves give this book its unique character. Strutting, parading, posturing, and occasionally flying....are birds whose real-life counterparts would surely disown them, and not without reason, for Manetti seems in these pictures to be depicting the human comedy, the habits and mannerisms of contemporary Italian society. His book may still be rated among the very greatest bird books, if only for its magnificent comicality."
[S Peter Dance: 'The Art of Natural History'*]
I don't think Volume 4 - the illustrations above - was overtly comical. It may be a naïve modern observer's point of view, but I got the feeling, while I spot-cleaned the background of these images, that the artists had a noble intention in mind when they tried to depict each bird with an individual personality. They are utterly charming and catch the viewer's attention, irrespective of whether or not there is total scientific accuracy in the design.

I found out later that the funnier 'portraits' (if they can be so-described) appear in the other volumes. I only discovered a couple more volumes online at the last minute and I haven't had a good look through : doubtless they'll be mined for another post or two in the future. This is a great series and deserves a proper showing. Somewhere or other I saw that a full set had fetched well into the 6-figure mark at auction. Unsurprising really. Original individual engravings sell for $750 or more.

Ornithologia methodice digesta by Saverio Manetti 1776 (title page - cropped)

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