Lot 104
  • 104

Majmu'a, a scientific, astronomical and mathematical compendium of eleven works, dedicated to the Artuqid ruler Abu’l-Harith ibn Qara Arsalan ibn Artuq, Mardin, Anatolia, dated 685 AH/1286 AD

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • ink on paper with leather binding
  • 17.5 by 9.4cm.
Arabic manuscript on paper, 193 leaves plus 3 flyleaves, 18 lines to the page, written in naskh script in brown ink, keywords picked out in larger red script, catchwords, 3rd work with various astronomical diagrams including 1 full page and 2 half-page diagrams, various other mathematical charts, brown leather binding with tooled central medallions decorated with a weave of split-palmettes, with flap

Catalogue Note

This charming pocket-sized compendium of various treatises on astronomy, science, logic and mathematics is a rare survival from the Artuqid dynasty of Mardin in the thirteenth century. The fact that it is dedicated to the ruler at the time of production in 1286 AD, Abu’l-Harith ibn Qara Arsalan ibn Artuq, serves only to increase its rarity and historical importance.

The preface of the manuscript (f.1b) mentions the name of the Artuqid ruler Abu’l-Harith ibn Ibrahim ibn Abi Bakr ibn Qara Arsalan ibn Dawud ibn Salman ibn Artuq, the long-reigning Artuqid ruler who acceded the throne in 1260 AD (see C. E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, Edinburgh, 1996, pp.194-6). Qara Arsalan, as ruler of the longest-lasting line of the dynasty at Mardin, eventually submitted and remained loyal to the great Ilkhanid overlord Hülegü. In its entirety, the Artuqid dynasty ruled in Mardin and Mayyafariqin, Hasankeyf, Amid and Khartpert c.1101-1408 AD, although surviving artworks from the period are rare.

An important piece of Artuqid metalwork in the form of a silver-inlaid brass basin (sold in these rooms, 25 April 2012, lot 538), was also dedicated to the same sultan as the present manuscript. It was recently part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Court and Cosmos - The Great Age of the Seljuqs, 27 April - 24 July 2016, and published in the accompanying catalogue (see S. Canby et al (eds.), Court and Cosmos - The Great Age of the Seljuqs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2016, p.58, no.8). 

The contents of the manuscript to hand are as follows:

1. Anonymous, Kitab al-tanqihat, an Arabic treatise on logic, metaphysics and mysticism. The author’s name is not mentioned but it is most probably Shihab al-Din Abu’l-Futuh Ahmad ibn Habash (Ya’ish) ibn Amirak al-Suhrawardi al-Maqtul (d.1191), see C. Brockelmann, GAL, I. 438; S.I.782.
2. Dhiya’ al-Din Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ni’matallah al-Jirani, Kitab al-qawa’id al-hakmiyya, an Arabic treatise on logic.
3. Anonymous, ‘Ilm al-hay’a, a Persian work on the science of astronomy, illustrated with numerous diagrams.
4. Abu’l-Hasan Kushyar  ibn Laban ibn Bashahri al-Jili (born in Gilan c.970 AD), Fi usul hisab al-hind ('Principles of Hindu Arithmetic'), see B.A. Rosenfeld & E. Ihsanoglu, Mathematicians, Astronomers and other Scholars of Islamic Civilisation and their Works (7th-19th C.), Istanbul, 2003, pp.118-9, no.308.
5. Ibn Sina, Risalah fi tahdid al-hudud, an abridged Arabic treatise on determining boundaries.
6. Thabit ibn Qurra al-Harrani (836-901 AD), an Arabic treatise on numbers.
7. Anonymous, al-Muhasabat, an Arabic and Persian treatise on arithmetic.
8. Siraj al-Din Abu Tahir Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdu’l-Rashid al-Sajawandi (c. 12th/13th century), Kitab al-fara’id al-sirajiyya, a Persian treatise on inheritance, see Rosenfeld & Ihsanoglu, op.cit., pp.193-4, no.537.
9. Anonymous, Fi ta’rif kalamah al-Buhran, on the definition of the word crisis of a disease such as delirium or coma.
10. Anonymous, a book of proverbs.
11. Hasan al-Hatimi, a treatise on the works of Aristotle and the Arab poet al-Mutanabi, and the areas of conformity between the two authors.