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Chapters: Arabia

Ibn al-Wardi. The pearls of wonders and the unequalled strange things. 2.400,00 EUR
Arabic manuscript on paper, North Africa, late XVI-th century, written in an elegant many-coloured (red, black or brown ink) magribi calligraphy of the same hand, incomplete in the final part. Leaf average dimensions: mm. 210/215 x 160/165; written space: mm. 171/182 x 125/131. Since the margins are too tight to house more written text, this manuscript contains no marginalia at all. The manuscript contains a drawing of the Kaaba on leaf 124. Gold-tooled red leather binding with flap. Fair conditions, edges frayed, some wormholes and sign of use. This is the masterpiece of the famous Arab historian and geographer `Abu Hafs Zayn ad-Din Umar ibn al-Muzaffar `Ibn al-Wardi (691-749 AH. (1291/92-1348/49 AD.)), entitled Haridat al-`agaib wa faridat al garaib, which is reasonably to be translated as `The pearls of wonders and the unequalled strange things`). This text is one of the most renowned treatises about geography in the Arab world of the XIII/XIV-th centuries, a large, uneven and `herodotean` narration, which mixes up informations of all kinds, loosely related in the very experience of the storyteller, about the places, peoples and traditions more or less known to the muslim audience of that age. The geographical conception of al-Wardi was organized around the sacred places of islam, that is to say Mecca and Medina, unfolding the world around that `centre` according to precise criteria, even if there still is a large amount of mythological bias in his tales (let`s think, for instance, to the unexisting mount Qaf, whose description is to be met in the very first pages of his work). Al-Wardi`s pen, nevertheless, is always eager to draw the readers` attention by telling strange and bizarre stories, albeit stretching the readers` trust to its limits. His description of the known world articulates starting from the various regions and kingdoms of the Earth, adding every detail thought to be of interest, whatever it may be: the evaluation of the distance between one or more geographical points, the comparison between cities, tribes or geopolitical situations, fauna and flora, buildings or legends. The main purpose of this work was, indeed, that of delighting the cultivated, cosmopolitan Arab urban élite.
Exhibitor: Solmi Giuseppe Tel: 051 / 6511029 giuseppe.solmi@tin.it
The title is up for the start of the antiquarian book fair.



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