Folio from Kitab fi ma`arifat al-hiyal al-handisaya (The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices) Automata by al-Jazari (d.1206); recto: A hand-washing device in the form of a woman holding a pitcher; verso: text

citation

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Kitab fi ma`arifat al-hiyal al-handisaya (The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices), “Automata,” by al-Jazari; text: Arabic in black and red naskh script; recto: A hand-washing device in the form of a woman holding a pitcher; verso: text, one column, 21 lines; one of a group of 8 folios.

Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Farruq ibn Abd al-Latif
Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, 1315 (715 A.H.)
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 31.1 x 21.6 cm (12 1/4 x 8 1/2 in)
Geography
probably Syria
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1930.75
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
automata, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), naskh script, Syria, woman
Provenance

To 1930
Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962), New York to 1930 [1]

From 1930
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York in 1930 [2]

Notes:

[1] Object file, undated folder sheet note. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Hagop Kevorkian 1872 - 1962

Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Kitab fi ma`arifat al-hiyal al-handisaya (The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices), "Automata," by al-Jazari; text: Arabic in black and red naskh script; recto: A hand-washing device in the form of a woman holding a pitcher; verso: text, one column, 21 lines; one of a group of 8 folios.

Label

Commonly referred to as the Automata al-Jazari's scientific text is among the most fascinating illustrated works from the Arab world. It is devoted to the construction of fifty mechanical devices, ranging from fountains, clocks, and automated palace gates to pitchers, locks, and bolts.
One chapter discusses hand-washing devices, such as this large ewer held by a kneeling female attendant in a domed pavilion. Al-Jazari maintains that once the bird whistles, water pours into a basin below. A duck then drinks the used water and releases it through its tail into a container hidden under the platform.

Published References
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 51, p. 110.
  • Sheila Blair Jonathan M. Bloom. The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250-1800. Yale University Press Pelican History of Art London. p. 103, fig. 132.
  • Anna Contadini. The Kitab Manafi 'al Hayawan in the Escorial Library. no. 3. p. 43.
  • The Encyclopedia of World Art. 17 vols., New York. cols. 185-186, pl. 77.
  • The Book of Ingenious Devices (Kitab al-hiyal). Dordrecht, Holland and Boston. p. 232, pl. 26.
  • Antonio Garcia Jaen. Arte y Artistas Musulmanes. Madrid. pl. 33.
  • Jose Pijoan. Arte Islamico. vol. 12, Summa artis, historia general del arte, 1st ed. Madrid. p. 338, fig. 471.
  • p. 48.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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