Saturday, May 23, 2009

Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing

Illustrations from Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing (Ajā’ib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharā’ib al-mawjūdāt - كتاب عجائب المخلوقات وغرائب الموجودات) by Zakarīyā’ ibn Muḥammad al-Qazwīnī, originally published in 1283. The illustrator, copyist and date of the edition are unknown. The nature of paper, script, ink, illumination, and illustrations suggest that it was produced in provincial Mughal India, possibly the Punjab, in the 17th century.

Eight constellations (from the top): Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius (a large figure drawing water from a well), Pisces, Cetus (a harpy with a peacock's tail), Orion (a standing turbaned male with sword and shepherd's staff), and the constellation Eridanus (the River).

Creatures from the Island of Zanj (jazirah-i Zanj), including gray and green winged humanoids.

Five mythical sea creatures, including a human-headed fish and a winged fish.

Above: a woman with long hair behind a large gray fish. Below: a monkey (labeled insan al-ma', 'aquatic being') and a pink fish.

Six animal-headed demons or jinn, all (except the blue elephant-headed demons) snapping their fingers.

Fabulous beasts and demons: two horned demons playing musical instruments; a feline, horned quadruped with two heads; a brown demon with a cat's head and tail, wearing wrist beads (noise-makers); and an elephant with rear claw feet. On a page labeled 'people of the Seal of Solomon (muhr-i Sulayman)'.

A humanoid with hair standing on end.

A lynx or caracal (‘anaq) and an elephant-headed demon.

A cock and (above) a partridge (darraj).

A simurgh (‘anqa', a mythical bird) and, above, a bird that appears to be a hoopoe but is labeled 'aq'aq (magpie).

An ostrich (na‘amat) and a small black bird labeled hudhud (the hoopoe).

A dragon (thu‘ban).

Five fabulous creatures: a dark-skinned female wearing only a head-scarf and pearls; two winged figure, nude except for pearls; a bare-breasted, long-haired female with six legs and wrist beads (noise-makers); and, at the bottom, a human-headed snake.

Four mythical creatures: a humanoid with his head in his chest, a human-headed turtle, and two half-sectioned women.

More illustrations at the Islamic Medical Manuscripts @ the National Library of Medicine [link]

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