'ALI B. AL-‘ABBAS AL-MAJUSI (LATINISED AS 'HALY ABBAS', D. CIRCA 994 AD), KITAB KAMIL AL-SINA’AH AL-TIBBIYAH ('THE COMPLETE BOOK OF THE MEDICAL ART'), COPIED BY SALAMALLAH B. HABIBALLAH B. MUHAMMED, PERSIA, SAFAVID, DATED 990-91 AH/1582-84 AD
'ALI B. AL-‘ABBAS AL-MAJUSI (LATINISED AS 'HALY ABBAS', D. CIRCA 994 AD), KITAB KAMIL AL-SINA’AH AL-TIBBIYAH ('THE COMPLETE BOOK OF THE MEDICAL ART'), COPIED BY SALAMALLAH B. HABIBALLAH B. MUHAMMED, PERSIA, SAFAVID, DATED 990-91 AH/1582-84 AD
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'ALI B. AL-‘ABBAS AL-MAJUSI (LATINISED AS 'HALY ABBAS', D. CIRCA 994 AD), KITAB KAMIL AL-SINA’AH AL-TIBBIYAH ('THE COMPLETE BOOK OF THE MEDICAL ART'), COPIED BY SALAMALLAH B. HABIBALLAH B. MUHAMMED, PERSIA, SAFAVID, DATED 990-91 AH/1582-84 AD

Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 GBP

'ALI B. AL-‘ABBAS AL-MAJUSI (LATINISED AS 'HALY ABBAS', D. CIRCA 994 AD), KITAB KAMIL AL-SINA’AH AL-TIBBIYAH ('THE COMPLETE BOOK OF THE MEDICAL ART'), COPIED BY SALAMALLAH B. HABIBALLAH B. MUHAMMED, PERSIA, SAFAVID, DATED 990-91 AH/1582-84 AD

Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details

Description

'ALI B. AL-‘ABBAS AL-MAJUSI (LATINISED AS 'HALY ABBAS', D. CIRCA 994 AD), KITAB KAMIL AL-SINA’AH AL-TIBBIYAH ('THE COMPLETE BOOK OF THE MEDICAL ART'), COPIED BY SALAMALLAH B. HABIBALLAH B. MUHAMMED, PERSIA, SAFAVID, DATED 990-91 AH/1582-84 AD


Arabic manuscript on cream paper, 614 leaves, 21 lines to the page, written in naskh in black ink important words underlined in red, titles and headings in red, in brown lacquer binding


23.5 by 17.5cm.

Condition Report

In overall good condition, the margins are clean with minor annotations, some staining affecting the end mainly on the upper external corner, minor dump and some traces of mice bites on the outer edges, one replaced page towards the end, several ownership inscriptions on the fly-leaves, the binding with minor scratched, as viewed.


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Cataloguing

Catalogue Note

The present manuscript is one of the few existing complete copies of this medical milestone by al-Majusi. Complete copies are rare, with the last sold in these rooms, 8 October 2014, lot 34. Throughout the manuscript, there are several colophons citing the scribe's name as well as two years in which the two books were completed (990 and 991 AH). Furthermore, looking at the elegant hand and the high-quality paper, the manuscript appears to have been a luxurious copy for a prestigious owner.


The author

‘Ali ibn al-Abbas al-Majusi came from a Zoroastrian family (hence the name al-Majusi) although he was a Muslim. He was born in Ahvaz in Persia and studied under Khaikh Abu Maher Musa ibn Sayyar. He joined the court of the Buyid ruler ‘Adud al-Dawlah Fana-Khusraw (r.949-83 AD), founder of a hospital in Shiraz and dedicated to him the Kamil al-sina’ah at-tibbiyah. The exact date of his death is unknown but likely occurred between 982 and 995 AD.


The text

The Kitab kamil al-sina’ah al-tibbiyah, also known as Al-Kitab al-Malaki (the Royal Book), was completed by al-Majusi around 980 AD and was dedicated to the Buyid ruler ‘Adud al-Dawlah Fana-Khusraw (r.949-83 AD). The aim of the text was to provide a chief textbook of medicine which fell midway between the lengthy al-Hawi and the brief al-Mansuri, both works by al-Razi. The work emphasises the need for a healthy relationship between doctors and patients, and the importance of medical ethics. It also provides details on a scientific methodology that is similar to modern biomedical research. The work comprises two books, each divided into ten sections (maqalas). The first juz’ is on medical theory in ten and the second on therapeutics. Each section is divided into chapters (babs) which vary in each maqalah. It covers the most varied topics, from dietetics to the capillary system.


The text reached Europe very early and the surgical section was translated into Latin and incorporated by Constantinus Africanus around 1086 AD in his Liber Pantegni. A complete translation followed shortly after, in 1127 AD, made by Stephen of Antioch. It was printed in Venice in 1492 and later in Lyon in 1523. Probably the earliest-known copy of this work, dated to the last quarter of the tenth century, was sold in these rooms, 8 October 2014, lot 34. One of the earliest copies is dated 436 AH/1044-45 AD and now in the University of California (Iskandar 1984, p.11, N.Ar.107). There is a further copy written in Baghdad, dated 999 AH/1590 AD in the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (MS.575.OL), whilst another is dated 841 AH/1437 AD with details of contents of books I and II in Arabic, in the Haddad Collection, WMS Arabic 409, (Serikoff 2005, pp.66-94). There are seven copies of the work in the Bodleian Library, none of which are complete, dated from 1161 to 1535 AD (E. Savage-Smith 2011, E.No.50). Eight more copies dated from 1303 to 1855 AD are in The Wellcome Library, (Iskandar 1967, pp.119-124). Seven copies dating from 1145 to the fourteenth century are housed in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (Arberry 1959, p.83). Another copy of the work dated 1138 AH/1726 AD exists in the Army Medical Library (Schullian and Sommer 1950pp.305-6, no.A26), whilst finally there are seven copies dated from 1153 AD to the eighteenth century in the British Library (Baker 2001, M.3, pp.364-5). See also Brockelmann: GAL, I. 237 (273) and S., I. 423.


Complete copies of this masterpiece are rare to appear on the market. Another copy, which bears more than one colophon and was written between 838 and 841 AH (1434-37 AD) was sold in these rooms, 22 November 1985, lot 466. As imaginable, it must have taken a long time and effort to collate al-Majusi's magnum opus, justifying the span of three years needed to complete it.

Arts of the Islamic World
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