You are on page 1of 48

      

Catalogues Collections Discover Services Visiting About Information for...

Asian and African studies blog
  

All our blogs Latest posts About this blog

30 posts categorized "Religion"
Search this blog Subscribe

Older posts
23 DECEMBER 2013

Mantiq al-tayr ('the Speech of Birds'), part 2
Add comment Comments (0) Among the treasures recently digitised thanks to the generous support of the Iran Heritage Foundation is a fine illustrated copy (BL Add.7735) of one of the most famous works in all classical Persian literature: Farīd al-Dīn „Aṭṭār‟s Manṭiq al-ṭayr („Speech of the Birds‟), a Sufi allegory of the quest for God. A recent posting introduced the poem and discussed some textual and artistic features of the manuscript. This posting examines the first three illustrations (see Titley, p. 35) and the accompanying text, in relation to „Aṭṭār‟s poem and some of its principal themes. The intention is to discuss the remaining six paintings in two future postings.

British Library Add.7753, f. 28v On folio 28v (cf. ed. Gawharīn, pp. 43-45), a beggar kneels before the princess he loves, who is accompanied by a dark-skinned woman. The latter (not mentioned in the poem) is either a maid or perhaps an adviser; the reason for suggesting the latter possibility is that her body language suggests that she is listening intently to the conversation – something servants are rarely portrayed as doing in Persian miniatures.

One day, long before, the princess had smiled at the poor man. That fatal smile had aroused false, but irrepressible, hopes in him. For years the beggar lives with the street dogs at the gates of her palace, hoping to win her love. Finally the princess sends for him and tells him that he must leave since it has been decided that otherwise he will be put to death. In reply, the beggar exclaims that he is happy to die for love of her, but asks the princess why she had smiled at him. She explains that she had simply been amused by his foolishness and naivety. The text on the page illustrated tells us that The girl summoned the beggar secretly, and told him: „How could one like you be paired with one like me? They‟re out to get you. Run away! Be off! Don‟t sit on my doorstep. Get up and be off!‟ Said the beggar, „I washed my hands of life the day I fell madly in love with you. May a myriad lives, like that of my restless soul, be scattered each moment before your face! Since they‟re going to kill me, though wrongfully, be kind and answer one question from me…‟

British Library Add.7753, f. 30v Folio 30v (cf. ed. Gawharīn, p. 46) depicts the hoopoe, leader of the birds, and the peacock. Most of the birds produce reasons why they cannot – or will not – set out on the perilous quest for the wondrous Sīmurgh bird. The vain and splendid peacock, having been banished from the joys of Paradise because of his pride, explains that he is unable to join the group because he is too much obsessed by the desire to return to his former celestial abode. In „Aṭṭār‟s wor ds:

he argues. so I fell in humiliation from Paradise. I have no other things to do in this world.‟ The rejoinder (on the next page) comes from the Hoo poe. for God‟s creatures to aspire to the delights of Paradise. something far from good came upon me through fate. Who is like a boundless ocean possessing beauties and perfections beyond all reckoning and imagining – compared to which Paradise itself is a mere droplet. [The above couplet is at the bottom of the preceding page.] Somewhere a foul serpent became my companion. . to be moving about would be enough for me.Said [the peacock]. I‟m not the kind of man to reach the King. to find my way to Heaven from this dark place. They were created to know and worship when the Creator of all. „Though I am Gabriel among birds. if only I can get to Heaven once more. with the help of a guide. my legs were tied up to the place where I stood. When the place of my solitary worship was changed. Yet I am resolved. It is not enough. Why should the Sīmurgh care about me at all? the Highest Paradise is enough for me.

49r . f.British Library Add.7753.

or the renunciation of one‟s former faith. When you‟ve neither this faith or this unbelief. Sayyid Ṣādiq Gawharīn. 1342/1963. marching round Anatolia from head to foot. Helmut. for this quest. Poverty will guide you to Infidelity. In this famous tale the Shaykh abandons his Muslim faith. 1974. p. set out on the journey together with him. In figurative poetic language this is termed „infidelity‟ (kufr). By chance there was a high balcony upon which a Christian maiden was sitting – a Christian girl like a heavenly angel. Further reading „Aṭṭār. her beauty‟s sun in Perfection‟s sign [of the zodiac]. Attar. and becomes the girl‟s swineherd. however. Ed. while the Shaykh too regains his former faith. and comm. although this does not signify literally abandoning all conventional religious beliefs and practices. all that that he thinks he knows. Farīd al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm. Should a hundred trials come up suddenly. Miniatures from Persian manuscripts. Eventually. Leiden. 1984. 2003. The Hoopoe tells the birds: Love will open the door of poverty to you.M. The Ocean of the Soul: men. N. The Conference of the Birds.On folio 49r (ed. Tr. Ritter. So four hundred disciples. The seeker after God. the maiden sees a vision and embraces Islam. in transcending the boundaries of his limited vision. Asian and African Studies Related articles . his disciples leave in despair. How much more of this dread? Leave childhood be! Be falcons. Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis.I. with hundredfold knowledge of Christ‟s way. 68). After that you‟ll be man enough for this task – and it takes a man to unveil such secrets! Set out like a man and have no fear. O‟Kane. still there‟s naught to fear once you‟re on this Path! (Translations by M. Pass beyond unbelief and belief. Farid ud-Din. Titley. Gawharīn. London. Waley) This manuscript will shortly be available to read in entirety on the British Library's digitised manuscripts page. Tr. Have no fear. the world and God in the stories of Farīd al-Dīn ‘Aṭṭār. Follow us on Twitter to keep in touch at @BLAsia_Africa. Tehran. must leave behind all his preconceptions. The verses on this page recount the beginning of the tale. Muhammad Isa Waley. Manṭiq al-ṭayr. be lions of men. A sun she was – but one that never set! Before telling this extraordinary story „Aṭṭār explains its significance. this soul and this body of yours are no more. J. London. From the Ka„ba they went to furthest Asia Minor. the venerable Shaykh Ṣan„ān (or Sam„ān) falls helplessly in love as he gazes at a Christian maiden on her balcony. drinks wine. men of worth.

at the Chinvat bridge. or Viraf. re-enforcing the story‟s underlying importance as a Zoroastrian pedagogic text. the earliest of which is found in present-day Iran in the third-century inscriptions of the Zoroastrian high priest Kirder.29). Islam. with versions in Persian. Several include vivid illustrations. It describes how the Zoroastrian community selected the righteous Viraz to visit the world of the dead returning with an account of the rewards and punishments in store. on view at the Brunei Gallery SOAS until December 15th.'The Speech of the Birds': an illustrated Persian manuscript Posted by Ursula Sims-Williams at 1:00 AM Tags Art. Ardashir I (r. Sanskrit and even Arabic (Kargar. which the souls . The story is set in the reign of the founder of the Sasanian Empire. Gujarati. 224-241). Arda Viraz with the divinities Srosh. were written in Pahlavi (pre-Islamic Persian) during the early Islamic period. it can be regarded as part of a tradition of visionary accounts. Although the story did not assume its definitive form until the 9th to 10 centuries AD. Iran. as his name has been transcribed in Persian. Many copies of this popular story survive in both prose and verse. concern the Zoroastrian vision of heaven and hell. Mihr and Rashn. and reflect a time of religious instability. p. Religion 96 44 37 4 05 DECEMBER 2013 Zoroastrian visions of heaven and hell Add comment Comments (2) Three of the most fascinating exhibits in „The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination‟. The revelations of Arda Viraz („righteous Viraz‟). the judge.

Traditionally. . f. Arda Viraf is told that. scorpions. golden fishes swim and musicians perform. Reproduced by courtesy of the University Librarian and Director.B. The University of Manchester The two manuscripts in „The Everlasting Flame‟ are copies of a popular Persian version composed in verse in Iran at the end of the 13th century by Zartosht Bahram Pazhdu. Although the text is in the Persian language. The scene below describes happy souls in a sweet smelling garden in paradise where birds sing. ff 1v-2r.1.1) was copied in India and dates from the late 17th century. Avestan) script. it was copied line by line in both Persian and Avestan (old Iranian) scripts. The second copy on display (John Rylands Persian MS 41) contains 60 illustrations which vividly depict the rewards and punishments awarded after death. the soul encounters an ugly hag and falls into hell. The manuscript was acquired for the orientalist Thomas Hyde (1636-1703) who used it as a means of deciphering the previously undeciphered Avestan script. The British Library‟s manuscript (Reg. On enquiring how they earned such a reward. while living.16.B.e. they killed frogs. reflecting a tradition of transcribing Zoroastrian texts in a „Zoroastrian‟ (i.16. the bridge becomes narrow.12r. The John Rylands Library. ants and other evil creatures (khrastar and hasharat)– one of the most meritorious actions a good Zoroastrian could perform. snakes.of the dead must cross. the bridge is broad and it can easily cross on its way to paradise. The beginning of Thomas Hyde‟s copy of the Arda Viraf namah British Library Reg. if not. Rylands Persian MS 41. if a soul‟s good deeds outweigh the bad it is met by a beautiful woman (actually an embodiment of the deceased's life on earth).

Reproduced by courtesy of the University Librarian and Director. f. The John Rylands Library. another who had overindulged and not given food to the poor was starved until forced to eat his own arms out of hunger.A scene in paradise. for example the man who had butchered believers was punished by being flayed alive. mostly consisting of those same evil scorpions. . snakes and reptiles which good Zoroastrians were encouraged to destroy.26r. The University of Manchester In contrast. Punishments were meted out by demonic creatures. These were to some extent tailored to the crimes committed on earth. more than half of the illustrations in this manuscript depict the gruesome punishments in store for those judged deficient at the Chinvat Bridge. Rylands Persian MS 41.

It has recently been digitised and images of the entire work can be seen at http://enriqueta. It was brought to England at the end of the 18th century by a collector Samuel Guise. Guise‟s collection caused quite a stir in the literary world. from the estate of another Persian scholar. After Guise‟s death in .man. Peshotan Jiv Hirji Homji. Reproduced by courtesy of the University Librarian and Director. p. Rylands Persian MS 41. 25th Earl of Crawford. ff 47v-48r. The orientalist William Ouseley reproduced the illustration of the disobedient wife in his Oriental Collections published in 1798. being mentioned in journals such as The Edinburgh Magazine and theBritish Critic (Sims-Williams. On the left: a woman is hung upside down and tormented.On the right: sinners who neglected to wear the sacred girdle (kusti) and were slack in matters of religious ritual are being eaten by demonic animals. Gujarat. Most of his Zoroastrian manuscripts were acquired by the East India Company Library (now at the British Library) but this manuscript was purchased by the Persian scholar. University of Manchester. his collection was sold. Nathaniel Bland and is now in the John Rylands Library. The John Rylands Library.200). Eventually it was bought by Alexander Lindsay. by a Zoroastrian. John Haddon Hindley. The University of Manchester This manuscript was copied in July 1789 in Navsari. Her crime was to disobey her husband and argue with a surgeon working for the East India Company at its factory in Surat.

facing p. Pope (tr. M. 2 part 3. 318.iranicaonline. 1872. The Oriental Collections. Arday-Viraf Nama: Iranian conceptions of the other world. W. Tauris. Haug. The Book of Arda Viraf: The Pahlavi Text Prepared by Destur Hoshangji Jamaspji Asa. Kargar. 2009. The Ardai Viraf Nameh. Ouseley. Central Book Depot. Bombay: Govt. British Library SV 400. Stewart (ed). . London: I. The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination . London: Black. 2013. the Revelations of Ardai Viraf. and E.W. D. Further reading: S. West. Gignoux. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet. “Činwad puhl” by A. London: Printed by Cooper and Graham. J. vol. Tafazzoli and “Kartir” by P. H.). Special discounted paperback edition available only from the SOAS bookshop Articles: “Ardā Wīrāz” by Ph. 1797-1800.B. included with some of the earliest engravings of Zoroastrian manuscripts in William Ouseley‟s Oriental Collections. 1816.A.An 18th century facsimile of Samuel Guise‟s copy of the Arda Viraf namah. Skjærvø in Encyclopædia Iranica (http://www. or. Parbury & O. Jamaspji Asa.

the Carita Yusup was once probably the single most popular traditional Javanese poem. “The strange story of Samuel Guise: an 18th-century collection of Zorostrian manuscripts. until he became ruler of Egypt after interpreting the Pharaoh‟s dream. Asian and African Studies Posted by Ursula Sims-Williams at 7:00 AM Tags Art. and hearing about his family . Digitisation. Or. Persian digital manuscripts. in memory of his father Alfred Johnson. Ursula Sims-Williams. 16914). Journeys. probably 19th c. According to Ben Arps (1990: 36). The manuscripts were generously donated to the British Library by John Johnson. to judge from the hundreds of manuscripts of this text that have survived. the Story of Joseph. British Library. Arps has described attending an all-night recitation of one such manuscript in Banyuwangi in East Java in 1989. Iran. moon and eleven stars bowing down for him. from the age of twelve when he dreamt of the sun. Javanese palm leaf manuscript of the Carita Yusup. 199-209. Religion. when a group of 15 men took turns to sing the story of the life of Joseph.16913. the story of the Prophet Joseph (Or.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 19. 2005 (2009). Last month I had the pleasure of meeting John. Exhibitions. Zoroastrianism 1157 940 154 0 03 DECEMBER 2013 The Javanese story of the Prophet Joseph Add comment Comments (0) The British Library has recently acquired two Javanese palm leaf manuscripts of the Carita Yusup. Sims-Williams. originating not only from Java but also from the neighbouring islands of Madura and Lombok.U. pp. 16913 & Or.

1947. Gani. 1947. Carolus hospital in Jakarta (then Batavia). representing the Calico Printers‟ Association. Pasuruan. The official handing over. He went with a view to negotiating with the Government for the return of our factory and on March 19th. As recalled in the affectionate obituary of Alfred Johnson in the staff magazine CPA Star written by Mr Khoe Tiong Djian. Ltd. After the war Alfred Johnson returned to Java. In 1941 Alfred Johnson was sent out from the UK to Java by the Calico Printers Association to manage the Nebritex factory in Pleret.K.. in July 1954. took place on June 13th. Reuter Cable Service flashed the news around the world to the effect that [Nebritex] was the first European-owned concern to be transferred back to its owners. near Surabaya. The family returned to England in 1953. Manchester. when he brought the manuscripts down to London from his home near Stockport.background in Java. representing the Republic of Indonesia as Minister of Foreign Affairs. and Dr A. Alfred had played a symbolic role in the early economic history of the Republic of Indonesia: „Mr Johnson was the first civilian Englishman to enter the Republican territory as guest of the Republican Government.‟ . while Alfred was first sent to Changi Jail in Singapore and then on to work on the „death railway‟ near Pekanbaru in Sumatra. however. but Alfred sadly died in Manchester soon after. who had served as Private Secretary to Alfred throughout his time at Nebritex. and John was born at St. between Mr Johnson. During the Japanese occupation both Alfred and his wife Ada were interned: Ada in Java. in 1947.

One of John Johnson‟s most treasured possesions: a tiny (7 x 3. while Or. Reproduced courtesy of John Johnson. Or. . They join four other Javanese palm leaf manuscripts of the Carita Yusup in the British Library (Or.7 cm) Chris tmas card made for his father in 1944 by Dutch officers in the Lipat Kain prison camp in Riau. shortly before he was interned. with 141 folios. given by Michael Goodwin from Leeds in 1990.16914.Identification papers issued to Alfred Johnson at the start of the Japanese occupation of Java. John Johnson did not have any information as to how his family had come into the two Javanese manuscripts. has many old repairs to the leaves. dated 2062 (1942). Sumatra. with a fine decorated initial leaf. They are both quite large. and together constitute a good corpus for further investigation of the material form of this ever-popular tale. Reproduced courtesy of John Johnson. using tiny splints sewn across the cracks.16913 has 140 folios. and both have covers of wooden boards originally stained red. 14606-14609).

19 (53): 35-58. Tembang in two traditions: performance and interpretation of Javanese literature. Detail of the first two leaves of the second manuscript of Carita Yusup. 1990. Southeast Asia Posted by Annabel Gallop at 3:12 PM Tags Islam.1r (detail).7. Lead Curator.London: School of Oriental and African Studies. Bernard Arps. ff.16913. East Java‟.1-2 (detail). Religion.Part of the first leaf of Or. showing the opening lines in Javanese language and script.2000. Or. Further reading Bernard Arps. Or.16914. „Singing the life of Joseph: an all-night reading of the lontar Yusup in Banyuwangi. Javanese. South East Asia 241 167 57 1 . The first leaf is a double leaf. Indonesia Circle. Annabel Teh Gallop. George Duffy. with intricate „button-hole‟ stitching through the holes. 1992.16913. showing old repairs to the second folio using tiny wooden splints to patch up a crack in the leaf. f. British Library. published online on 4. with unusual incised decorative diamond-shaped frames. „Life and Death on the Death Railway through the jungle of Sumatra‟. British Library.

leader of the birds. the thirty birds (sī murgh) finally encounter the object of their search. A future posting will look at the subjects of the paintings and their relationship to „Aṭṭār‟s didactic messages. Finally the hoopoe sets out with a few companions.22 NOVEMBER 2013 ‘The Speech of the Birds’: an illustrated Persian manuscript Add comment Comments (0) Among the treasures recently digitised thanks to the generous support of the Iran Heritage Foundation is an illustrated copy (BL Add. Losing their illusory separative identities in the beatific vision. These include spiritual and earthly love and passion. a Sufi allegory of the quest for God. tries to persuade them to set out on a quest to find the Sīmurgh. „Aṭṭār intersperses many moral and instructive tales touching on the main themes of the poem. In Manṭiq al-ṭayr. the supreme and immortal Bird who here symbolises the Creator. faith and disbelief. 7735) of one of the most famous works in all classical Persian literature: Farīd al-Dīn „Aṭṭār‟s Manṭiq al-ṭayr („Speech of the Birds‟). Most of the birds produce reasons why they cannot – or will not – undertake the perilous journey. death and the transitory nature of life in this world. . For that is one of the predominant leitmotifs in the illustrations to our manuscript. the Sīmurgh. but as in his other didactic works in masnavī form (rhyming couplets). and the ways in which „worlds collide‟ in encounters between people who because of their respective positions in life are divided by a gulf that at times appears – and is surely intended by the author to be – partially analogous to that between the Creator and His creation. Such is the narrative framework. Traversing seven valleys. which represent stages of the mystical Path. they find everlasting fulfilment. „Aṭṭār describes how the hoopoe.

What is now Add. The previous history of this manuscript is almost completely unknown.First page of Farīd al-Dīn „Aṭṭār‟s Manṭiq al-ṭayr. and secondly because any other evidence has been lost through the removal of any folios at the beginning or end of the volume which did not contain text. British Library. 7735 was acquired by the British Museum in 1825 by Act of Parliament from the estate of Claudius James Rich (1787-1821). Add. all. date from the 12th/18th century. however. An interesting feature of this manuscript which has hitherto escaped attention is the omission of a number of the stories that occur near the end of the poem.7735.1v. whose translation omits the . British Resident at Baghdad and a discriminating collector of some 806 Islamic manuscripts. f. Folio 1r has several ownership inscriptions. all now in the British Library. firstly because it is now incomplete and has no colophon. As Dick Davis.

Further textual omissions appear to have been avoided by the calligrapher who copied the manuscript .208r. p. But comparison with pp. has remarked. The epilogue text ends as in Gawharīn (p.7735. to whose memory this posting is dedicated. Gawharīn. 258). which has matching catchwords and no missing text folios. Add. shows that the manuscript. 7735 would have been more understandable for the sake of literary effect. Last page of Farīd al-Dīn „Aṭṭār‟s Manṭiq al-ṭayr. then resumes with the last three tales about the Seljuk vizier Niẓām al-Mulk (ed. the Prophet Solomon. and the famous Khurāsānian Sufi Abū Sa„īd of Mihana. Indeed. 253-8 of the critical edition by Sayyid Ṣādiq Gawharīn. British Library. leaving about 40% of the text area free for the colophon that was never added. lacks six consecutive stories altogether. f. its omission from Add. 259). it is anticlimactic.epilogue.

Gawharīn p. with six couplets added. Published descriptions of the paintings describe them as being in what is called the Later . ed. to a limited extent. f. Manṭiq al-ṭayr. 3 on 197v. Add. Further scrutiny may perhaps bring further actual omissions from Add. 7735 to light. 3 on 197r. The lack of documentary evidence for the date and region of origin of the manuscript is compensated for. A total of 18 extra bayts (couplets) were fitted into the lengthy story of a king who killed his vizier‟s son out of jealousy (cf.196r. and 3 on 198r.7735. by the presence of miniature paintings in a style that displays a number of specific influences. 238 43): 3 bayts on 195v. 3 + 3 on 196r. and with which the fine nasta‘līq calligraphy and opening illuminated headpiece are consistent.writing in a smaller hand to compensate for want of space. British Library.

Bihzad. with reference to „Aṭṭār‟s text. there are several inaccuracies in the descriptions of their subjects given in Miniatures from Persian Manuscripts. however. 7735 do possess some of the charm. but they are less conceptually ambitious. It is known. based at Bukhara.M. Ebadollah. who conquered the region in 1506. associated with the patronage of Sultan Ḥusayn Bāyqarā who ruled from that city between 1469 and 1506. Others joined later. architectural detail and landscape. Iran. 63. Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis. Given their similarity. Persian digital manuscripts. the late Norah Titley‟s pioneering and invaluable catalogue and subject index of miniatures in the British Library and British Museum. Further reading „Aṭṭār. Farīd al-Dīn Muḥammad. and Bihzādian. 1342/1963. So far as can be ascertained. more restricted in palette. Religion 177 82 58 2 21 NOVEMBER 2013 The Mughals: Life. Attar. 1984. New York. Sayyid Ṣādiq Gawharīn. however. and a number of other Herat painters were „offered‟ positions at the court of the Uzbek Shaybānids. 1997. in 1967 and 1977. and most of the nine miniatures have never been published. These developments ensured the partial continuation of the Later Herat tradition. Tehran. one is tempted to assign the Manṭiq al-ṭayr tentatively to that era. Likewise. and with Kamāl al-Dīn Bihzād (d. Art and Culture in New Delhi . his star student Shaykhzāda. our Manṭiq al-ṭayr manuscript has been „formally‟ exhibited (apart from occasional appearances in the general display of manuscripts in the British Library. Lukens. 6810. and before that in the British Museum) only twice. Muhammad Isa Waley. Despite their similarities. 25900 and Or. „The Fifteenth-Century miniatures‟. 1536). This manuscript will shortly be available to read on our digitised manuscripts site. compositional flair and atmosphere of the late 15th century masterpieces just referred to. It therefore seems a worthwhile project to reproduce and discuss them. 7735 differ noticeably from those found. Follow us on twitter (@BLAsia_Africa) to keep in touch. Online: Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with JSTOR (PDF downloadable here). to some of the more Herat-influenced Bukhara painting of the first two or three decades of the 16th century. N. London and New York. manuscript of „Aṭṭār‟s Manṭiq al-ṭayr (Fletcher Fund. Digitisation. in a future posting for this blog. that Bihzād. and in the superb copy of Sa„dī‟s poem Būstān (Dār al-Kutub alMiṣriyya. the miniatures in Add. both copies of Niẓāmī‟s Khamsa („Five Poems‟). Ed. The Conference of the Birds. Manṭiq al-ṭayr (Maqāmāt al-ṭuyūr). all produced under Bihzād‟s supervision and with his participation. London. and comm. Farid ud-Din. and lack the magisterial touch of Bihzād. the most famous of all Persian painters. Tr.Herat style. The miniatures in Add. Moreover. Bahari. master of Persian painting. Miniatures from Persian Manuscripts. for example. Titley. Curator for Persian Posted by Annabel Gallop at 8:00 AM Tags Art. London. in certain respects. finding themselves no longer comfortable as Sunnīs in Iran under the militantly Shī„ī Safavid dynasty. Marie G.210) preserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cairo). 1974. in the British Library manuscripts Add. they differ from the four contemporary illustrations in the equall y magnificent.

. India this winter. It will be open for public viewing from 22nd November . Culture and Empire in April 2013. Art and Culture has been curated by the British Library and is brought to New Delhi by Roli Books in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. Afghanistan this past summer and now in New Delhi. we have had the opportunity to launch facsimile versions of the show first in Kabul.31st December 2013. The Mughals: Life.Add comment Comments (0) Since the closure of the British Library's exhibition Mughal India: Art.

and dramatic panoramas of Indian BL Or. The artwork cover a variety of subject matter. 114r) . The child Akbar recognizes his mother at Kabul in 1545. and some of the most extraordinary portraits of the Mughal emperors. a route map from Delhi to Qandahar. most of the objects are kept in storage and are rarely seen. Being in a library and not a museum. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity for Indian viewers to be a part of their own history.f2u8YiAV. This scene. 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi by Metcalfe and illustrated by the studio of Mazhar Ali Khan. This scene. Akbar is re-united with his mother after an absence of two years. Some of the rare exhibits on display include Shah Jahan's recipe book. Ascribed to Madhu with principal portraits painted by Narsigh. One of the ladies is almost certainly Gulbadan (Or. Many of these works have never been published until now. 1602-3. the earliest Indian atlas. from the Akbarnāmah. takes place in the women‟s quarters.12988. f. from the Akbarnāmah. 114r. f. 'Notebook of Fragrance'.html#sthash. a map of Delhi. an 18th century manuscript 'Book of Affairs of Love' by Rai Anand Ram Mukhlis.typepad. from scenes of courtly life including lively hunting parties and formal portraits of emperor to illustrations of works of literature which manage to convey the complex storylines in a single image.See more at: . takes place in the women‟s quarters.The exhibition showcases the British Library's extensive collection of illustrated manuscripts and paintings that were commissioned by Mughal emperors and other officials and depict the splendour and vibrant colour of Mughal life.

5. South Asian Arts Group (SAAG) and the South Asian Literature Festival (SALF) organised a symposium on the under-researched area of South Asian floor-drawing and mural traditions and their contemporary manifestations. . Akbar. please click here. Author. Losty and Malini Roy. South Asian floor drawings and murals Add comment Comments (0) At the end of October. Author Painting in Late Mughal Delhi. Religion. Honourable Minister of External Affairs as the Guest of Honour. Culture and the Mughals 29 November. 5. Events accompanying the exhibition include: 22 November. Historian Food. Science. 5. Author Akbar: The Many Dimensions of Mughal India's Greatest Emperor Posted by Malini Roy at 10:13 AM Tags Art. CREAM (University of Westminister). Mughal India. Exhibitions. 'From Floor to Ceiling' symposium was held at the University of Westminister with an external trip to view original wall paintings at the British Library.30pm M. Pushpesh Pant. 5. Mughal India: Art. Culture and Empire by J.30pm William Dalrymple. 1707-1857 27 November. South Asia 439 73 188 6 13 NOVEMBER 2013 Symposium: From Floor to Ceiling. For the British Library publication.30pm Dr.P.J.30pm John Falconer. Lead Curator of Visual Arts (British Library) India in Focus: Photographs from South Asia 23 November. A new publication by British Library curators and printed by Roli Books will accompany the show. with Shri Salman Khurshid.The exhibition will be inaugurated on Thursday 21 November 2013 by the Honourable Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari as the Chief Guest. Journalist.

His research prompted Mrs. Mrs. . These drawings were produced by the women of the household to commemorate particular stages in life including the sacred thread ceremony for Brahim boys and marriage. Pupul Jayakar of the All India Handicrafts Board to study the folk art traditions in the region in detail. paintings from Orissa. Jayakar suggested that the local women produce murals on paper that could be sold in New Delhi and provide a revenue stream. Archer. the art historian who first documented this regional style of art was William G. The Library is best placed to host a session on Maithil and Madhubhani paintings. The All India Handicrafts Board presented a sets of the works from this project to the Library in 1975. Other murals featured Hindu deities including the goddess Lakshmi and the incarnations of Vishnu. the husband of Mildred Archer. parrots and lotus rings. The viewing session primarily focused on this last group of paintings. William served in the Indian Civil Service and during their first year of marriage. Archer published his documentation and research on Maithil paintings in the arts magazine Marg in 1949. turtles. in 1934. Aide-memoires produced using water-colours on multiple sheets of paper glued together were presented to Archer. Mildred was the Head of Prints and Drawings Section at the India Office Library from 1954-80.Participants at the British Library. Mali paintings made in Bihar. as well as Maithil or Madhubhani paintings from Bihar. they were stationed in Bihar. 25th October 2013 The Library's collection includes several hundred Indian popular or folk paintings produced in various regions across the subcontinent in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Archer was the sub-divisional officer and responsible for documenting the damage caused by a major earthquake in the region. Visiting villages and private homes. The collection includes Kalighat paintings from Calcutta. The murals features symbols of fertility and marriage including fishes. In the late 1960s. when Bihar was struck by famine. Archer was invited into the homes and permitted to photograph the interiors. Archer discovered murals on the walls of the homes. Gathering information during the next few years.

3. there were two specific groups of paintings that we examined. 1949 Carolyne B. Archer in 1940. "Maithil Paintings". Visual Anthropology Review. The second group of drawings were commissioned by the All India Handicrafts Board and made by women in Bihar between 1973-75. 25th October 2013 During our viewing session. Marg Vol. Visual materials held in our collection can be viewed by appointment in the Asian & African Studies Print Room.G. for an appointment. 2007 Jyotindra Jain. Bihar that were presented to W. no. Heinz. pp. Indian Popular Painting in the India Office Library. 2. Archer. with the aim to encourage collaboration and exchange on the under-researched area of mural for an appointment.Participants at the British Library. 24-33. "Deconstructing the Image in Mithila Art".G. 1977 W. 1997 . visit the symposium website. All of our folk paintings are listed on our India Office Select Material Catalogue. 5-33. 3 Issue no. Bibliography Mildred Archer. 22. Material held in the Visual Arts department at the British Library can be viewed by appointment in the Print Room. Mapin. The first group included late 19th century drawings by Maithil Kayasth and Maithil Brahim women from the village of Darabhanga. Please email apacprints@bl. To read more about the symposium and learn about recent research on South Asian wall and floor paintings. Please email apac-prints@bl. Ganga Devi: Tradition and Expression in Mithila Painting.

Detailed catalogue records will be available for each manuscript.000 individual objects. place of origin. author/scribe and keywords to find manuscripts of relevance to their work. In the collection there are well over 3.000 years.250 manuscripts. All manuscripts will be displayed in their entirety on the Library‟s Digitised Manuscripts site free of charge. and stored in preservation format. South Asia 63 10 33 0 31 OCTOBER 2013 Opening up the Hebrew manuscript collection Add comment Comments (0) This summer saw the beginning of a major project to digitise 1250 Hebrew manuscripts held in the British Library.Malini Roy. the British Library‟s Hebrew manuscripts collection is a vivid testimony to the creativity and intense scribal activities of Eastern and Western Jewish communities spanning over 1. though for this project we are focusing on just 1. Funded mainly by the Polonsky Foundation. Religion. We will also create a special „tour‟ of the manuscripts on the website. to enable users to search by various fields such as date. The manuscripts are being photographed in-house by the Library‟s Imaging Services team. Visual Arts Curator @BL_VisualArts Posted by Malini Roy at 10:00 AM Tags Art. the three-year project aims to make these invaluable manuscripts freely available to scholars and the public worldwide. highlighting aspects and themes of the collection in order to introduce it to wider audiences. Acknowledged as one of the finest and most important in the world. .

liturgy. and others. such as Aramaic. Hebrew is the predominant language of the material to be digitised. Yiddish. Italy. decorated opening to the Book of Isaiah. f. poetry. Halakhah (Jewish law). North Africa. with Bible.Hebrew Bible. Harley 5711. Judeo-Arabic. The collection is strong in all major areas of Hebrew literature. Talmud. Judeo-Persian. Judeo-Greek. such as Iran. ethics.1r. British Library. Yemen and China. the Middle and Near East. kabbalah. Included in the project are codices (the large majority). manuscripts that were copied in other Jewish languages utilizing Hebrew script. . Its geographical spread is vast and takes in Europe. JudeoSpanish. Judeo-Italian. 13th century. philosophy and philology being particularly well represented. Torah scrolls and Scrolls of the Book of Esther. Iraq. have also been included in the project. and various countries in Asia. however.

The collection contains numerous items of international significance. British Library. 15251. including the following:  Over 300 important biblical manuscripts including the London Codex dating from c. 1448. . f.  Anglo-Jewish charters in Hebrew and Hebrew/Latin attesting to the Jewish presence in England before the expulsion of the Jewish population in 1290 by King Edward I. They include debt acquittances (releases from debt). attestations (formal confirmations by signature). Italy. 10th century. one of the oldest Masoretic Bibles in existence and the Torah Scroll of the Jewish community of Kaifeng. Exodus 15. 49v. and other types of contractual transactions between Jews and non-Jews.The Duke of Sussex‟s Italian Bible. Add. The Song of the Sea.

Germany. Its story of Rama‟s quest to recover his wife Sita from her abduction by Ravana. the Lisbon Bible. and the King‟s Spanish Bible. Some 150 illuminated and decorated manuscripts representing the schools of medieval Hebrew illumination in France.00 Centre for Conservation. 18. Digitisation. the Duke of Sussex German Pentateuch. Many of these manuscripts date from the 14th and 15th centuries. Science 854 497 197 23 25 OCTOBER 2013 Ramayana Re-Imagined Add comment Comments (0) Mon 28 Oct 2013. has enchanted readers and audiences across the Eastern world for thousands of years. Religion. Petersburg. China. Moses ben Jacob of Coucy. British Library Price: £7. Hebrew and Christian Orient Studies Posted by Annabel Gallop at 6:05 PM Tags Art. comparable only to the Abraham Firkovitch Karaite manuscript collection in St. with some dating back to the 12th century. . and about 130 manuscript compendia and commentaries on Talmudic and Halakhic topics by some of the greatest Jewish luminaries such as Moses Maimonides.  A collection of 142 Karaite manuscripts. Portugal and Spain. Isaac of Corbeil. the Lord of the Underworld. Iran.  About 70 manuscripts containing texts of the Mishnah and the Talmud (Jewish legal code). one of the best Karaite resources in the world. Ilana Tahan Lead Curator.50 / £5 concessions Book now The Ramayana is one of the great epics of the ancient world. and others. Italy. Rashi. the Harley Catalan Bible. Treasures include the Golden Haggadah. the North French Hebrew Miscellany. with versions spanning the cultures. religions and languages of Asia.30-20.

Ranjana Ghatak. Vayu Naidu is an accomplished storyteller. Awakenin. His first collection. But she is then comforted by Hanuman. performer and teacher. is joined by storyteller Vayu Naidu and musician. Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!! was shortlisted for the T. writer. she has subsequently performed with Akram Khan and Nitin Sawhney.O. He currently lives in Harrow with his wife and daughters and works in a secondary school. Her art of storytelling is derived from the Indic oral tradition and its energy comes quite simply through the telling. 4 rect o) Award-winning poet Daljit Nagra. Sita’s Ascent. Her novel. Her 2011 debut EP. Perched in his tree. In 2008 he won the South Bank Show/Arts Council Decibel Award. f. Having studied under Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. reading from his new version of the Ramayana. Sita was at first confused by him and thought he might be Ravana in one of his disguises. he began to recite Rama‟s praises. television and theatre. Eliot Prize 2011. won the 2007 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. In association with South Asian Literature Festival Posted by Malini Roy at 10:40 AM Tags . juxtaposes the beauty of sacred Indian vocal music with dynamic yet sensitive arrangements. Look We Have Coming to Dover!. (I. launched at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year. for an evening of poetry and music to mark the British Library‟s involvement with Indian partners to digitally reunify one of the most lavishly produced manuscripts of this story. then Sheffield. She will be accompanied by the tabla. whilst immersing herself in the life and sounds of contemporary Britain.Hanuman was perplexed as to how he could speak to Sita. not reading. London born Ranjana Ghatak trained in North Indian singing. of a story. In this performance Ranjana sings couplets from different versions of the Ramayana in various South Asian languages. Daljit Nagra was born and raised in West London. San 3621. surrounded as she was by demon guardians. S. when he reveals himself to her as Rama‟s messenger and gives her Rama‟s ring. and toured nationally and internationally. appeared in films and her short stories have been published by The Critical Quarterly and Virago. he has created a vivid and enthralling version of this own. She has written for radio. Captivated by versions of the Ramayana his grandparents regaled him with as a child. is an exposition on one of the key characters at the heart of the Ramayana.

Bishop Eznik Kolbac„i wrote this Refutation of the Sects around 440 AD. hoping to get the opportunity to be able to exhibit them! The final choice of what to include was difficult. The Library's unique collection of Zoroastrian sacred texts. shows Eznik instructing his pupils (British Library 17026. Almut Hintze. but I‟m glad to say the British Library has made a significant contribution with over 30 major loans. had been left untouched since the 19th century and I worked closely with our conservation department to restore them. a fact which Eznik mentions himself as a reason for the existence of so many conflicting views.14) I first met Sarah almost 30 years ago when we were students together in an elementary Pahlavi (a Middle-Iranian language) class at SOAS! Since then we have often discussed her dream of mounting an exhibition. Not only has the theme. it is a first in almost every sense. together with Pheroza Godrej. Put together by Sarah Stewart. The more familiar I became with the Zoroastrian material in the British Library. the more impressed I was with the incredibly wide range of materials we had. Zoroastrianism from the 2nd millenium until the present date. SOAS. His work is valuable as a contemporary account of the religion at a time when the scriptures were still transmitted orally. Lecturer in Zoroastrianism in the Department of the Study of Religions.- New exhibition opens on Zoroastrianism Add comment Comments (0) Anyone who has been in the vicinity of the Brunei Gallery SOAS during the last few weeks could hardly have failed to notice the frenzied activity in preparation for „The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination‟ which opened last Friday (see also my earlier post on this subject). Firoza Mistree and myself. . His criticism of Zoroastrianism was directed principally against the various forms of dualism. but the majority of the over 200 exhibits have never been on public view. The frontispiece of this first edition. never been presented in this way before. collected from the 17th century onwards. published in Smyrna in 1762.b.

ff. These affected matters of civil and criminal law. A gallery on the top floor also includes works by the modern artists Fereydoun Ave. The Talmudic period in Babylonia largely overlapped with the Sasanian empire (224-651 AD) and during this period the Babylonian rabbis shared numerous intellectual and cultural concerns with their neighbours. the Zoroastrian priests at Ctesiphon.69v-70r) Several people have asked me what my „favourite‟ exhibits are! The 7th century BC cuneiform tablet from Nineveh. Mehran Zirak and Bijan Saffari. Equally impressive are the stunning ossuaries from 7th century Sogdiana and the beautiful Parsi portraits and textiles dating from the 19th century. and a 4th century Achaemenid document from northern Afghanistan attesting the earliest use of the Zoroastrian day names and offerings for the Farvardin (spirits of the dead) must be amongst the most significant items. and even ritual (British Library. Ahura Mazda („Wise Lord‟). Here are a few more: . thought to c ontain the name of the principal Zoroastrian deity. private law. Harley 5508. I mentioned a few British Library favourites in a previous post (The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination).A 12th or 13th century copy of the Babylonian Talmud. the result of flourishing trade with China. capital of the Sasanian empire. theology.

f. Zoroaster] discovered the magic art of spells and other wicked words and wicked things. Yates Thompson 28. 51r) .The concept of Zoroaster as a magician or philosopher from the East is widespread in European literature.e.‟ (British Library. These and many other things happened during the first two ages of the era that finished in the time of Abraham. Of Zoroaster he writes: „And at that time a master called Canoaster [i. particularly after the Renaissance with its increased awareness of Greek and Hellenistic literature. This Italian translation by Bono Giamboni of Li Livres dou Trésor by Brunetto Latini (1230–94) dates from 1425.

follow these links to the exhibition website and facebook page. vol. 318) The exhibition is free and open until 15 December. Manchester (British Library.B.00 (late night Thursday until 20. For more details.„The woman who didn‟t obey her husband‟. dating from 1798. is displayed in the exhibition alongside the original which is now part of the John Rylands Collection.00. The exhibition catalogue.30 . edited by Sarah Stewart. includes 8 essays and photographs of every item in the exhibition. Asian and African Studies Follow us on Twitter @BLAsia_Africa Posted by Ursula Sims-Williams at 12:34 AM Tags .17. Tauris and from the SOAS bookshop (at a special discount price of £17). 2 part 3. Ursula Sims-Williams. special Sunday opening on 15 December). facing p. from the Persian Arda Viraf Nameh (the visionary journey of Viraf the Just to heaven and hell). Tuesday.Saturday 10. This engraving. It is available from the publishers I. SV 400.

Suttantapitaka. religious treatises. The commission and production of funeral presentation volumes was regarded as a way of earning merit on behalf of the deceased. It was very common to combine these or similar texts in one manuscript. folio 6) Most of the text is in black ink on paper made from the bark of the khoi tree (streblus asper). which was regarded as sacred. a Buddhist monk of the Theravada tradition said to have attained supernatural powers through his accumulated merit and meditation. the manuscript is dated 2437 BE (AD 1894). emphasizing the importance of these Jatakas symbolising the ten virtues of the Buddha. Trade. being based on a Pali text.Art. tone markers and certain vowels that do not exist in Khmer script have been adopted in Khom script to support the proper Thai pronunciation and intonation. Vinayapitaka. Sahassanaya. and rituals associated with the afterlife. Iran. Although Khom script. as well as genre scenes of lay people. 16101). Zoroastrianism 822 478 117 7 29 September 2013 A Thai book of merit: Phra Malai’s journeys to heaven and hell Add comment Comments (0) The legend of Phra Malai. Vidura and Vessantara Jatakas (Or 16101. Altogether. . China. The earliest surviving examples of Phra Malai manuscripts date back to the late eighteenth century. Religion. Because Khmer script was not designed for a tonal language like Thai. and the story is one of the most popular subjects of nineteenth-century illustrated Thai manuscripts. the manuscript has 95 folios with illustrations on 17 folios. Central Asia. the text accompanying the illustrations of the Last Ten Birth Tales is written in gold ink on blackened khoi paper. in the Thai manuscript tradition. Journeys. was normally used for texts in Pali. which was commissioned on occasion of a funeral service. The Thai text in this manuscript is combined with extracts in Pali from the Abhidhammapitaka. However. Phra Malai figures prominently in Thai art. as well lavish gilt and lacquered covers. Gold ink. a variant of Khmer script often used in Central Thai religious manuscripts. Far East. although it is assumed that the story is much older. Exhibitions. The legend also has some parallels with the Ksitigarbha Sutra. According to a colophon in Thai script on the first folio. is the main text in a nineteenth-century Thai folding book (samut khoi) held in the Thai. These texts are written in Khom script. scenes from the life of Phra Malai. Other miniature paintings depict the Buddha in meditation. with Phra Malai forming the main part. Lao and Cambodian Collections (Or. South Asia. added value and prestige to the manuscript. the story of Phra Malai is always presented in Thai. and illustrations from the Last Ten Birth Tales of the Buddha (Thai thotsachat).

functioned as presentation volumes in honor of the deceased. the Balapanditta Sutta. the Lohakumbhi Jataka. or Nirvana in the end. the Samkicca Jataka. the monk receives an offering of eight lotus flowers from a poor woodcutter. a heavenly stupa believed to contain a relic of the Buddha. Phra Malai is said to bestow mercy on the creatures suffering there. Phra Malai converses with the god Indra and the Buddha-to-come. the Peta-vatthu etc. In Tavatimsa heaven. which he eventually offers at the Chulamani Chedi. in the Nimi Jataka. Illustrated folding books were produced for a range of different purposes in Thai Buddhist monasteries and at royal and local courts. folio 8) During his visits to hell (naraka). obtaining merit. Or 16101. .) the legend of Phra Malai is thought to have contributed significantly to the idea of hell in Thai society. and attending performances of the Vessantara Jataka all counted as virtues that increased the chances of a favourable rebirth. They often.Phra Malai visiting hell (Or 16101. meditation and by following Buddhist precepts. Following Buddhist precepts. therefore. folio 28 Through recitations of Phra Malai the karmic effects of human actions were taught to the faithful at funerals and other merit-making occasions. It comes as no surprise that this manuscript contains an illustration of a lavishly decorated coffin attended by two Buddhist monks who are trying to fend off two „fake‟ monks. the Devaduta Sutta. Although the subject of hell is mentioned in the Pali canon (for example. who reveals to the monk insights about the future of mankind. They implore him to warn their relatives on earth of the horrors of hell and how they can escape it through making merit on behalf of the deceased. Metteyya. Lotus offering scene. Back in the human realm. Producing folding books or sponsoring them was regarded as especially meritorious. They served as handbooks and chanting manuals for Buddhist monks and novices.

Jana: ʻPhra Malai . (ed. Henry: Thai art and culture: historic manuscripts from Western Collections. Religion. 1989 Igunma. 63-76 Wenk. pp. Tempe.): Samut khoi.Khmer heritage in Thai and Lao manuscript cultures. contrary to their strict behavioural rules. Bangkok: Khrongkan suepsan moradok watthanatham Thai.typepad. By the end of the nineteenth Maenmas (ed.ʼ In: Tai Culture Vol. Klaus: Thailändische Miniaturmalererien nach einer Handschrift der Indischen Kunstabteilung der Staatlichen Museen Berlin. Henry: Thai manuscript painting. 1985 Jana Igunma. London: British Library.A Buddhist Saint‟s Journeys to Heaven and Hell. Jana: ʻAksoon Khoom . Thai monks reciting the legend of Phra Malai would embellish and dramatise their performances. Digitisation.See more at: http://britishlibrary.ʼ Peltier. Lacquered front cover with gilt flower ornaments (Or 16101) Further reading There is an excellent translation from Thai into English of the entire legend of Phra Malai by Bonnie Pacala See more at: http://britishlibrary.): Buddhism: art and faith. London: British Museum Publications. which is included in her book Thai Tellings of Phra Malai – texts and rituals concerning a Buddhist Saint. 1999 Ginsburg. As a result.typepad. W. unconstrained by the rules of the Sangha.PxobIA6s. 2013 Igunma.ʼ BEFEO. Tome LXXI (1982). 23. monks were officially banned from such performances.dpuf .Funeral scene (Or 16101. 1995 Chawalit. Anatole: ʻIconographie de la légende de Braḥ Mā Arizona: Arizona State University. 2000 Ginsburg.vL67KHfd. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner. A full text digital copy of Or 16101 can be viewed online at British Library Digitised Manuscripts. Asian and African Studies Posted by Ursula Sims-Williams at 12:33 AM Tags Art. London: British 1965 Zwalf. folio 92) Traditionally. Berlin : SEACOM. retired or „fake‟ monks often delivered the popular performances. South East Asia .

1658-1707). . 2) The author. with a careful Persian-language exegesis that offers not only a translation and explanation of the content but also the correct pronunciation of the Arabic wording. He appears to have been a minor scholar who also contributed to the monumental Fatāwā ‘Alamgiriyyah (Nadvī. several compilations of ḥadīth on the afterlife exist. called al-Budūr al-Sāfirah. rather than a Persian translation of a previously existing Arabic-language compilation. c. For instance. 98). which consists of a compilation of ḥadīth dealing with the topic of death and the afterlife. In fact. entitled Kitāb Akhbār al-Ma‘ād (The Book of Traditions on the Hereafter). names himself in the preface. these ḥadīth are gathered in a separate volume unconnected with the previous ones. the famous 15th-century scholar of Islamic law. We shall see that this approach to separating ḥadīth on funerary practice from ḥadīth on the apocalypse and day of judgement is entirely different to the approach taken by Ghulām Muḥammad al-Satirkhī in his work. in a work entitled Bushrā al-Ka’īb bi-Liqā’ al-Ḥabīb and in a further work. Mughal. from funerals to the end of the world and the day of judgment. The manuscript in question is Delhi Persian 44. the Sharḥ al-Ṣudūr fī Sharḥ Ḥāl al-Mawtā fī al-Qubūr. Ghulām Muḥammad al-Satirkhī.1700 (Johnson Album 2. today‟s entry deals with a little-known manuscript commissioned by the emperor himself. however.Aurangzeb Ponders the Afterlife Add comment Comments (0) Picking up the thread of previous blogs examining the patronage of legal compendia and mathematical translations at the Mughal court under Aurangzeb (r. Aurangzeb in his old age reading the Qur‟an. Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī. compiled ḥadīth relating to the obligatory prayers and rituals surrounding death and the state of the body in the grave. Al-Suyūṭī authored a separate work that focused on eschatological concerns. The ḥadīth (traditions spoken by the Prophet Muhammad and recorded by his companions and followers) are in Arabic. but none seem to closely resemble the work at hand. The Kitāb Akhbār al-Ma‘ād seems to be a unique selection of ḥadīth made by the author.

. what is interesting about the Kitāb Akhbār al-Ma‘ād is that it expands into more esoteric topics in the second half of the work.including the appearance of the anti-Christ (the Dajjāl) and Gog and Magog (Jūj and Mājūj) . and describes the characteristics of those who will dwell in heaven or hell. along with similar issues of religious practice and legal requirement. and numerous ḥadīth and tales associated with the apocalypse and end of days in the Islamic tradition.the author presents several ḥadīth on how humans will be judged. and the body in the grave. The work opens with the well-known ḥadīth that (among other things) it is obligatory for the Muslim to walk in the funeral procession of another Muslim. After the detailed description of the apocalypse . the liminal area between this world and the next. f 3r) The Kitāb Akhbār al-Ma‘ād. attempting a universal scope when dealing with the hereafter. The author rarely cites the source of his ḥadīth. funerary prayers. In addition to encompassing ḥadīth on rituals. in contrast to other ḥadīth compilations on similar topics. it also addresses questions on the apocalypse and last judgement. he does not provide a full isnād (chain of tranmission). it is typically one of the canonical Sunni ḥadīth collections (the six canonical ḥadīth collections and the musānid). However. is much wider in scope. While he gives the name of the first transmitter from among the companions of the prophet. It addresses not just the obligatory actions and prayers of the Muslim surrounding death but also includes ḥadīth on barzakh.Part of the table of contents of the Kitāb Akhbār al-Ma‘ād by Ghulām Muḥammad al-Satirkhī (Delhi Persian 44. but when he does. and continues to discuss how the body should be washed and wrapped in the shroud.

However. for that matter. but also its translation and exegesis in Persian. causing Aurangzeb to commission such a work? The author. in which the author claims that he was ordered by Aurangzeb to construct this compilation. he saw fit to order not only the compilation of this material. mentioning the patronage of the Emperor Aurangzeb (Delhi Persian 44. a detailed study of the numerous ḥadīth collections on the afterlife would be required before drawing any firm conclusions (I am writing an article on this manuscript and its comparison with similar compilations – so watch this space for more information!). from the wrapping of the corpse in the shroud until the final trumpet heralding the last judgement. could impending old age have spurred a greater interest in the afterlife. the same year that al-Satirkhī completed the work. in the preface. While it has been established that the author did not rely on al-Suyūṭī‟s many compilations. the work is of note for its wide selection of ḥadīth on all aspects of eschatology. f 2v) The manuscript is dated 1089 AH/ 1678 AD. would have been sixty years old when it was written. and why. Based on pure speculation. or whether the author based his work in part on previous compilations.Beyond its status as a manuscript of royal patronage that has previously not received scholarly attention. if we take the preface and conclusion of the manuscript at face value. so Aurangzeb (born in 1618 AD). The Arabic introduction to Kitāb Akhbār al-Ma‘ād. we should ask why the emperor was interested in an allembracing approach to everything dealing with death and the afterlife. It remains to be established whether the work represents a truly unique approach to the topic of the afterlife. states that Aurangzeb's wish was to lead those .

a relative he viewed as 'straying from the path' and wanted to frighten back into line with a book about threats of torture in the afterlife. 1988) Jane Idleman Smith and Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad. but watch this blog for more akhbār of the ma‘ād. For the moment.dpuf the BOOK OF THE CONSTELLATIONS… 08/21/2011 the art of ancient astronomy… from WORLD DIGITAL LIBRARY . it remains a mystery. 2002) Mujībullāh Nadvī.who were negligent in their religion back to the staight path .so perhaps the extremely educated and pious emperor intended this work for a general audience rather than his own private reading. Mashhūr Ḥasan Maḥmūd Sulaymān (Jordan: Maktabat al-Manā Or perhaps he had a particular person in mind. Reli . [1988]) Nur Sobers-Khan.PxobIA6s. Bushrā al-Ka’īb bi-Liqā al-Ḥabīb ed. Fatāva-yi ʻĀlamgīrī ke muʾallifīn (Lāhaur: Markaz-i Taḥqīq-i Diyāl Singh Ṭrasṭ Lāʾibrerī. The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Further reading Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī. Asian and African Studies Follow us on Twitter @BLAsia_Africa Posted by Ursula Sims-Williams at 12:15 AM Tags Mughal more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.

D. and a table of stars showing their locations and magnitude. and died in 986. This copy. and exercised a huge influence on the development of science in Europe. from the collections of the Library of Congress. The Bibliothèque nationale de France has a manuscript of the Kitab suwar al-kawakib that was prepared for Ulug Beg in 1436. and is an exact copy of a manuscript. he provides the indigenous Arab names for their stars. The work was frequently copied and translated. drawings of the constellations.H. For each of the constellations. Al-Sufi’s book spurred further work on astronomy in the Arabic and Islamic worlds. and is known for his translation from Greek into Arabic of the Almagest by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy. circa 1730. now lost.]. commonly known as al-Sufi. which he published around 964. In this work. prepared for Ulug Beg of Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) in 1417 [820 A. al-Sufi describes the 48 constellations that were established by Ptolemy and adds criticisms and corrections of his own. was produced somewhere in south or central Asia.The astronomer ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Umar al-Sufi. Al-Sufi’s most famous work is Kitab suwar al-kawakib (Book of the constellations of the fixed stars). . was born in Persia (present-day Iran) in 903 A. He worked in Isfahan and in Baghdad.




a treatise on the marvels of the universe written by cosmographer and geographer Zakariya ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (1203–1283). early 17th century from The Wonders of Creation and the Oddities of Existence (Arabic: ‘Aja’ib al-makhluqat waghara’ib al-mawjudat). The Ashmolean Museum .The giantsDeccan Plateau. araştır .metmuseum.