Arabic manuscript on paper, 15 leaves, plus 4 flyleaves, 7 lines to the page, written in fine naskh script in black ink within cloud bands against a gold ground, text divided by pointed gold roundels, catchwords, remargined, set into outer margins flecked with gold, borders ruled in colours and gold, opening double page with later illuminated headpiece and polychrome flowers within the interstices, soft brown leather binding with gilt-stamped medallions filled with bird and flower motifs, scroll-work borders
Following the death of Yaq'ut al-Musta'simi in c.1298 AD, manuscripts executed by him were hugely sought after, and have practically become, in modern times, the Holy Grail of Islamic arts of the book. Because the quantity of manuscripts produced by Yaq'ut was relatively small, facsimiles began to be produced (sometimes with the acknowledgment of the copyist, other times without). Indeed, so scarce were the manuscripts, even a few years after Yaqut's death, the Ilkhanid vizier and collector of Qur'ans Rashid al-Din was only able to find ten by Yaq'ut to add to his library (see James 1992, p.58).
There are fourteen copies of this work, the earliest of which is now in the British Library, dated 593 AH/1197 AD (Stocks and Baker 2001, p.34B). See also Brockelmann: GAL, S.I. 607–608; and for abridgments and selections from the work: I.357.
One fairly common feature of Yaq'ut manuscripts is that they have often been remargined and re-illuminated, as is the case with the present prayer book, so some artistic evidence of the original manuscript is lost. Related manuscripts were sold in these rooms 8 October 2014, lot 33; 9 October 2013, lot 48 and 25 April 2012, lot 414.