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A World of Beasts: A Thirteenth-Century Illustrated Arabic by Anna Contadini

By Anna Contadini

The Kitāb Naʿt al-Ḥayawān is the earliest of a bunch of illustrated manuscripts facing the features of animals and their medicinal makes use of. the current learn considers either the confluence of textual traditions inside this paintings and the stylistic and iconographic relationships of its illustrations, which make it a key witness to early thirteenth-century Arab portray. After a re-examination of past methods, emphasis is put on bearing on picture to textual content, on stylistic affiliations, and at the modalities of construction, supported by means of technical analyses undertaken for the 1st time. In elucidating the actual context of this certain manuscript, the research contributes to our realizing of a serious interval within the improvement of heart jap portray and artwork.

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Additional resources for A World of Beasts: A Thirteenth-Century Illustrated Arabic Book on Animals (the Kitāb Na‘t al-Ḥayawān) in the Ibn Bakhtīshū‘ Tradition

Sample text

249r (= Esc. fol. 142v), followed by the Green Lizard ʿaḍāya,17 and continuing until fol. 250r, and it is clear that at least one and probably two folios are missing, possibly containing the paintings of the Beetles and the Gecko, as in the Escorial, although this is not absolutely certain, as not every animal treated in this section is represented. The Green Lizard is followed on fol. 250r by the Chameleon—omitted from the heading— and a Chameleon-like animal (kubaḥ ). In the Escorial these have separate entries, and in the Naʿt, despite the compound heading, the text discusses them in that order, the characteristics and usefulness of the Chameleon being followed by the beginning of the characteristics of the kubaḥ on fol.

In the Escorial the kubaḥ is followed by the Cockroaches and Dung beetles, and the missing folio may have contained an illustration of the Dung Beetles as well as the minuscule one of a Cockroach that has survived by virtue of being wrongly pasted at the bottom of fol. 253v. A coherent text resumes on fol. 181r (= Esc. 145r) with the uses of the Dung beetle, jumping from 181v to 255r, where we arrive at the Ant, followed on 257r by the Leech, the uses of Worms (fol. 257v), and the uses of Leeches, ending on fol.

Naʿt, fols. 124r–v (94r–v). It would be reasonable to conclude that in the original form of the Naʿt: – the fourth frontispiece was followed by a verso either blank or with the title of the work; – the text began with what is now fol. 95r (qāla jāmiʿ hādha al-kitāb), proceeded through the discourses and the section on quadrupeds; – this was followed immediately by the cockerel; – the partridge material now on the verso of the fourth frontispiece and the following recto is a later addition; – the concluding statement at the end of the first section is a later addition.

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