Folio from an Automata by al-Jazari; recto: Mechanical device for pouring a drink; verso: text

citation

Folio from a copy of Automata by al-Jazari, Kitab fi ma’arifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya (The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices); Arabic in black naskh script; recto: Mechanical Device for Pouring a Drink; verso: text: fifteen lines.

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Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Izmiri
Patron: Amir Nasr al-Din Muhammad
Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, 1354
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 39.8 x 27.5 cm (15 11/16 x 10 13/16 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Henri Vever collection
Accession Number
S1986.108
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
automata, drinking, Egypt, Henri Vever collection, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

Fredrik Robert Martin (1868-1933). [1]

From at least 1912
Arthur Sambon (1867-1947), Paris, France. [2]

To 1913
Léonce Rosenberg (1879-1947), Paris, France. [3]

From 1913 to 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France, purchased from Léonce Rosenberg, Paris, France on May 26, 1913. [4]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France. [5]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France. [6]

Notes:

[1] See Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 7: Chart of Recent Provenance" in An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Glenn D. Lowry et al (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 402.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

[4] See also Glen D. Lowry and Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 2: Ledger of Acquisitions, 1894 and 1907-17" in A Jeweler’s Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 233.

[5] See the Agreement for the Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection of January 9, 1986, Collections Management Office.

[6] See note 5.

Previous Owner(s)

Henri Vever 1854 - 1942
Arthur Sambon 1867 - 1947
Fredrik Robert Martin 1868 - 1933
Léonce Rosenberg 1879 - 1947
Francois Mautin French, born 1907

Description

Folio from a copy of Automata by al-Jazari, Kitab fi ma'arifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya (The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices); Arabic in black naskh script; recto: Mechanical Device for Pouring a Drink; verso: text: fifteen lines.

Inscription(s)

Stamps: Pencil "96"; Chenue Emballeur; London 1931 VV35; Paris Douanes Expo; Round "Henri Vever"

Label

At the beginning of the thirteenth century, al-Jazari wrote the Kitab fi ma'r'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya (Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices), popularly called the Automata, and dedicated it to Amir Nasruddin Muhammad (r. 1202-22), the Artukid (1102-1408) ruler of Diyarbakir. The manuscript is devoted to the explanation and construction of fifty mechanical devices divided into six categories. Each category of the book is subdivided into chapters and sections that detail the various components necessary to make the mechanical devices.

This folio comes from chapter 8 of the second category of devices ("On the Construction of Vessels Figures Suitable for Drinking Sessions"). The text describes how the figure of a man is constructed with a series of inner tubes connecting his hands to a reservoir under his cap. Wine is poured into the reservoir when the cap is removed. When the device is ready, the cap is replaced and brought before the guests. After about seven or eight minutes, wine begins to flow into the goblet held in the figure's hand. The small drawings at the bottom of the page describe how to make the hand of the goblet; the axle in his elbow; the jar and the upper arm; the siphon in the jar; the wine reservoir; the trough and the tipping bucket; the narrow pipe connected to the side of the bucket's trough and extending through the left hand into the neck of the bottle; and the bottle.

Published References
  • Fredrik Robert Martin. The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India, and Turkey from the 8th to the 18th Century. 2 vols., London. pl. 3.
  • The Hague. Catalogus tentoonstelling van islamische kunst. cat. 4, p. 21.
  • Glenn D. Lowry Susan Nemanzee. A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 6, p. 74-75.
  • America's Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years. Washington, 1996. p. 86.
  • Henry Corbin, Paul Pelliot, Eustache de Lorey. Les Arts de l'Iran, l'ancienne Perse, et Bagdad. Paris. cat. 12.2, p. 130.
  • Mikhail B. Piotrovsky John Vrieze. Earthly Beauty, Heavenly Art: Art of Islam. Exh. cat. Amsterdam and London. cat. 85, p. 140.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 191, pp. 162-163.
  • Rene Grousset. The Civilizations of the East. 4 vols., New York and London, 1931-1934. p. 247, fig. 178.
  • L'Age d'or des sciences arabes: Exposition présentée a l'Institut du monde arabe, Paris, 25 octobre 2005-19 mars 2006. Exh. cat. Arles and Paris. cat. 146, p. 273.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum