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Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts

The Islamic and Oriental manuscripts are part of the Richard C. Jenkinson Collection in the Special Collections Division of the Newark Public Library and includes The Foliophiles Oriental Collection, as well as Qu'rans and loose leaves. “The Oriental Manuscripts and printed books represented in this portfolio have been gathered from many sources, as will presently be shown, and are fairly representative of the progress of the art of writing, and to a lesser degree of printing, throughout Asia.” ...



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From a Nestorian Syriac manuscript of the 16th century, a Book of Prayers. Written with a reed pen on a semi-waterproof paper (in the manufacture of which Damascus was once famous), and distinguished for its bold, clear characters and interesting rubrications.
Topic: Manuscripts, Syrian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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Small leather bound Qur'an with silver clasp. Portions of Qur'an in Arabic, written in Kufic script.
Topics: Manuscripts, Arabic, Qur'an
From two Japanese Manuscripts: 1, a Buddhist manuscript of the 14th Century; 2, a copy of the Ise Monogatari. The former (the narrow, yellowed leaf) is from a volume of the Buddhist Canon, and bears the Japanese date corresponding to 1395 A.D. It is written in pure Chinese characters, and the brushwork of the scribe though not notable is scholarly. The paper, made from plant fibres (probably the bark of a mulberry tree), is still tough, and with care likely to endure another five centuries. Ink...
Topics: Manuscripts, Japanese, Manuscripts, Chinese
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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Topics: Manuscripts, Arabic, Manuscripts (Papyri), Papyrus
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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Small leather bound manuscript written in Persian. Leather Covers; Paper with Gold Trim.
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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Dated 1120 A.D. this Quran was a gift of J. Ackerman Coles; There are no illuminations but much use of gold. Leather Bound Cover; Paper; Gold leaf.
Topics: Manuscripts, Arabic, Qur'an, Islamic Calligraphy
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a Qur'an manuscript in Kufic characters. This rare example, though undated, is attributed by experts to the 12th Century, or earlier. While its style suggests the calligraphy of Mashad (Persia), certain peculiarities point to Egypt as its probable place of origin. In indentifying a manuscript one must bear in mind that centers of learning like Baghdad and Cairo attracted people from all parts of the Muhammadan world, including many scholars, scribes, and illuminators from Persia and...
Topic: Manuscripts, Arabic
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From an Arabic manuscript, written in Persia, consisting of chapters of the Qur'an, known as Suras, and Daily Prayers. Such selections from the Koran were popular, and the most famous calligraphers and illuminators were frequently commissioned by devout Muslims to exert their skill in producing fine copies. This manuscript is undated, but it is evidently early 19th Century. The writing is in a bold Naskhi, not unlike that of the preceding example, and is typical of modern Persian calligraphy....
Topic: Manuscripts, Arabic
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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This manuscript is written in an early form of Shekasteh Nasta'liq, which was to develop at a later period into the exquisite calligraphy that flourished, as it were, at the expense of Persian pictorial art. It was written for, and dedicated to, Amir Shal Jalal, one of the Mongol feudal kings of Persia, bears the name of the calligrapher, Mohammad ibni Hassan, the Kateb, with the date A.H. 929 (1520 A.D.). These miniatures, which closely correspond to our text illustrations, were evidently the...
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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Black Ink on Papyrus
Topics: Manuscripts, Coptic, Manuscripts (Papyri), Papyrus
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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Small leather bound manuscript written in Persian. Leather Covers; Paper with Gold Trim.
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From an Armenian Manuscript, dated 1741, a Catechism and Book of Prayers. Written by one Paul, a monk of Armedan (in Asia Minor), it ends devoutedly in a vigourous burst of anathema against all scoffers, extemporisers and traffickers in books of magic and the black arts. Black and Red Ink on Paper
Topic: Manuscripts, Armenian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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From a Siamese manuscript of the early 19th Century. An interesting inscription on the cover reads: "An alphabet and spelling book (Siamese language) for J.C. Williamson, Lieut. U.S.N., U.S. Str. 'San Jacinto,' from the second king of Siam, &etc." This is in the handwriting of the king himself. Siamese belongs to the Tai group of languages; it bears a distant kinship to Chinese, but is closely related to the rest of the Tai group. The alphabet is derived from Cambodian (which is...
Topic: Manuscripts, Siamese
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a Persian manuscript containing biographies of noted Sufis and distinguished men in Islam. The author is given as Abd-al-Rahman, son of Achmad-al-Jami. On the fly-leaf is inscribed, apparently by the first owner, Kandahar, A.H. 883, or 1478 of the Christian era. Black and Red Ink on Paper.
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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Containing the biographies of noted Sufis and distinguished men in Islam. The author is given as Abd-al-Rahman, son of Achmad-al-Jami. On the fly-leaf is inscribed, apparently by the first owner, Kandahar, A.H. 883, or 1478 of the Christian era. This manuscript is written in the Ta'liq hand, a plain script intended for scholars, but not without the fascination of all such honest craftsmanship. That the book was in constant use is evident not only from the worn condition of the leaves, but also...
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From two block printed books: 1, Chinese; 2, Japanese. The former (the narrower leaf) is from a 17th century Buddhist work known as the Sutra of the Multitude of Silent Souls. Wood-block printing, of which this is a good if not a distinguished example, has been practiced by the Chinese for at least twelve centuries; first by the Buddhist monks for the reproduction of little charms on single sheets of paper, and later for books by Buddhists, Taosists and Confucians alike. And although movable...
Topics: Manuscripts, Japanese, Manuscripts, Chinese
Black Ink on Papyrus
Topics: Manuscripts, Arabic, Manuscripts (Papyri), Papyrus
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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Black and Red Ink on Paper; Slight Gold Illumination
Topics: Qur'an, Islamic Calligraphy, Manuscripts, Arabic
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From two Persian manuscripts of the 17th century: 1, Firdausi's Shahnama, or Book of Kings; 2, the Khamash of Nizami. By a coincidence both manuscripts are written in a fine Skekasteh Nasta'liq hand after the style of Mir Imad El Hassan, the famous 16th Century calligrapher. One (the Shahnama), as will be seen, shows greater craftsmanship in the calligraphy, the other (the Khamsah), in the illuminations. Paper; Gold Illumination.
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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Black and Red Ink on Paper; Slight Gold Illumination
Topics: Qur'an, Manuscripts, Arabic, Islamic Calligraphy
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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From a Kashmir manuscript entitled "Poem of Beauty and Love," really a mystical interpretation of love in poetic prose, dated A.H. 1265 (1848 A.D.). Beautifully decorated in the Kashmir style by one of the skilled illuminators who have made that Himalayan province famous for centuries. The work of the calligrapher, who signs himself Pandat, is equally fine, and like previous examples in this collection is in the Shekasteh Nasta'liq, after the manner of Mir Imad. Paper; Gold...
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a Hindu manuscript, written in the city of Jodhpur, India, in 1839, retelling some of the ever popular tales from the Bardic Chronicles of Rajputana. The Rajputs, whose heroic deeds are here immortalized, have the reputation of being the bravest race in India. From the 7th Century onward, the Muhammadan invaders found them in their path, but generously acknowledged the intrepid courage of a foe never completely subdued. The language of Rajputana is Western Hindi, which has sprung from...
Topic: Manuscripts, Hindi
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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From a Chinese Book of Rubbings, consisting of portraits of leading statesmen, philosophers, scholars, etc. with brief eulogies, prepared by Sung Yun, and dated 1827. "Illustrious deeds come only from virtue," reads the foreword in huge characters covering four pages. The portrait sketch has a statuary quality traditional to Chinese tablet engraving, and the calligraphy is in the best "modern" style, which has been in continued use for more than eight centuries. Stone...
Topic: Manuscripts, Chinese
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a manuscript Gulistan, or Rose Garden, of Sa'di, one of the most famous and beautiful poems in the Perisan language. The date corresponds to 1563 to the Christian era. On the margins, running concurrently, are the Ghazals, or Lyrics, of Sa'di. The calligraphy is in the Shekasteh Nasta'liq style, and while not of great distinction, shows painstaking care and precision. Shekasteh Nasta'liq is a form of script greatly favored by Persian calligraphers. It is a test of their skill and, and...
Topic: Manuscripts, Persian
Book of the Dead of Nerhu-Nefer chapter 43. "Of not allowing the head of a man to be cut off." Black and Red Ink on Fragmented Papyrus
Topics: Papyrus, Manuscripts (Papyri)
Black and Red Ink on Parchment
Topic: Manuscripts, Syrian
From a Japanese Book with Illustrations by Hokusai: Furya Goju-nin Isshu Izaukawa Kyoka Guruna, a collection of humorous poems. The first edition of an exceedingly rare book dated Koiwa 2 (1802). The art of printing in color from wood-blocks reached a perfection in Japan during the 18th and 19th Centuries that challenges the admiration of the world. The amazing thing about these color-prints, as Edward F. Strange has pointed, is "that the perfectly harmonious results obtained in the best...
Topics: Woodblock prints, Color prints, Japanese, Katsushika, Hokusai, 1760-1849
From a Tibetan Buddhist manuscript, the title of which may be freely translated, "The Sutra of the Excellent and Victorious Vehicle Concerning the Sacred Golden Lights of the Ayra." This manuscript comes from the library of the Imperial Palace, Peking, and both Chinese and Tibetan scholars ascribe it to the reign of K'ang Hsi (1662 - 1722). It is the work of a skilled lama (Tibetan Buddhist) scribe, who has employed the scholarly style known as "thick letters," now largely...
Topic: Manuscripts, Tibetan
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a Turkish manuscript, consisting of Travels to the Sacred Cities of Islam, by Adib ibn Muhammad Darvish. Undated, but probably late 18th century. An excellent example of the work of the Turkish scribe, always neat, painstaking, but seldom brilliant. As a matter of fact, the Turks could not successfully compete with the Persians in the art of calligraphy, writing to them being largely a means to an end. The paper used in this manuscript appears to be European, but is sized and partially...
Topic: Manuscripts, Turkish
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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A book of Buddhist Scriptures, or rather Lamaist, since the Mongols received from the lamas of Tibet, not only their religion but such culture as they possessed before their conquest of China. Paper; Red and Black Ink.
Topic: Manuscripts, Mongolian
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a Sanskrit manuscript, written in the North of India, probably towards the end of the 18th Century, though possibly early in the 19th. Although the title of this manuscript has been lost, a cursory examination shows it to be of a religious and astrological character. It is written in a plain, scholarly hand in the style known as Devanagari, or "town script," and reads from left to write. The paper was native made, the gloss being acquired by sizing and polishing. Black Ink on...
Topic: Mansucripts, Sanskrit
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a Javanese manuscript of the 19th Century - the History of Rama, rendered into modern Javanese from Kavi, the old literature of the island, which consisted largely of Hindu mythology, modified and localized by patriotic scribes. Many tourists to Java, who have witnessed a shadow-play with its strange wayang figures, do not realize that these popular plays are largely based on the Mahabharata, and that many of the grotesque puppet actors are the heroes, in disguise, of the great Indian...
Topic: Manuscripts, Javanese
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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From Two Olas, or palm leaf manuscripts: 1, Burmese; 2, Sinhalese. The sacred literature of both Burma and Ceylon is preserved in Pali, which has survived as the priestly language of the Southern Buddhist countries. Pali was the living tongue of the people of India at the time of the Gotama, but together with the religion the glories of which it still celebrates it gradually receded before the rising tide of Brahmanism. Hence scholars must search the monasteries of Burma, Ceylon and Siam for...
Topic: Manuscripts, Burmese
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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Although the title of this manuscript has been lost, examination shows it to be of a religious and astrological character. It it written in a plain, scholarly hand in the style known as Devanagari or "town script," and reads from left to right. The line running along the tops of Sanskrit characters is believed to be due to the custom adopted by the scribes of writing beneath a ruled line, whereby the latter gradually became part of the letter and so gained its present prominence. The...
Topic: Manuscripts, Sanskrit
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a Chinese album of miniatures, 18th Century, a series of original paintings illustrative of Buddhist ceremonies. Each picture is done upon a leaf of the Bodhi, or tree of wisdom. This tree, known by botanists as the sacred wild fig, is found throughout India and Ceylon wherever there is a Buddhist temple, and is regarded with such reverence that its leaves and twigs are carefully preserved and carried abroad by devout Buddhist pilgrims. For it is believed that underneath its branches...
Topic: Manuscripts, Chinese
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From a manuscript Qur'an, executed in a clear, firm hand in the style of chirography known as Nashki. The paper was hand-made, and like most Oriental papers has been carefully sized and polished. The calligraphist wrote with a reed. Although this interesting manuscript contains no record of place or date, it is probably Egyptian in origin, and undoubtedly of the 16th century. Black and Colored Ink on Paper; Slight Gold Illumination.
Topics: Qur'an, Islamic Calligraphy, Manuscripts, Arabic
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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Written in a clear, firm hand in the ancient style of chirography known as Naskhi (modified of course, through many centuries), and lacking mere prettiness, this page possesses an air of dignity in perfect accord with the simple eloquence of the of the adored Prophet. It is understood that no matter what the style of calligraphy employed in transcribing the Qur'an, the language is always Arabic. This is according to Muhammadan law, and applies throughout the Islamic world from Morocco to the...
Topic: Manuscripts, Arabic
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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Topic: Textiles
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
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From two Arabic Manuscripts: 1, a 15th Century book of Islamic devotions; 2, a modern Algerian Qur'an. The former (the smaller leaf) is a splendid example of the style of calligraphy known as Maghrebi, a picturesque script that has been employed for centuries in Algeria, Morocco, and throughout North Africa generally, with the exception of Egypt. Such manuscripts are nearly always decorated, or at least rubricated, and possess a barbaric beauty that gives Maghrebi a unique position among the...
Topic: Manuscripts, Arabic
Islamic and Oriental Manuscripts
texts

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From two Sanskrit manuscripts, the smaller an 18th century example containing selections from several Puranas, the larger, of the early 19th century, containing excerpts from the Mahabharata; one a plain book for humble use, the other evidently the work of Kashmir craftsmen done at the order of a prince or some person of means. Both books are written in Devanagari script, and correspond somewhat loosely in purpose to a Latin breviary. Black and Red Ink on Paper; Gold Illumination and Colored...
Topic: Manuscripts, Sanskrit