Folio from Aja’ib al-makhluqat (Wonders of Creation) by al-Qazvini; recto: Constellations of the Southern Hemisphere: Corvus (al-Ghurab), Centaurus (Qanturis); verso: Lupus (al-Saba’), Ara (al-Mijmara), Corona Austrina


Author: Muhammad al-Qazvini (ca. 1203-1283)
Historical period(s)
early 15th century
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H x W (recto bird): 4.1 × 6.8 cm (1 5/8 × 2 11/16 in)
Iraq or Eastern Turkey
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Detached manuscript folio

Ara, bird, Centaurus, Corvus, Iraq, Lupus, naskh script, Turkey, Wonders of Creation, WWII-era provenance

To 1945
Friedrich Paul Theodor Sarre (1865-1945). [1]

To 1954
Mme. Maria Louise Sarre, Ascona, Switzerland. [2]

From 1954
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Dr. Paul Kempner, New York on behalf of Mme. Maria Louise Sarre, Ascona, Switzerland. [3]


[1] Object file F1954.33-114, undated folder sheet note 2. “The manuscript was originally acquired by Prof. Friedrich Sarre in Algiers”.

[2] Object file F1954.33-114, undated folder sheet note 1. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[3] See note 2. See also invoice dated July 22, 1954 and correspondences between Dr. Paul Kempner and the Freer Gallery, dated July 21, 1954; copies in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

Mme. Maria Louise Sarre
Friedrich Paul Theodor Sarre


Both Corvus, "The Raven," and Centaurus, "The Centaur," are constellations of the southern hemisphere. Corvus is composed of seven stars while Centaurus, whose forepart is made up of a man and hindpart of a horse, consists of 37. Al-Kazwini records that the last two stars of Centaurus are called "the two sworn upon," and according to tradition one of these passes very close to the path of Corvus. Some people, writes al-Kazwini, believe that the star belongs to "the Raven" while others insist that it is part of "The Centaur."

Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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