• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7751

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    6 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 60

    A COMMENTARY ON 'ABU MA'SHAR JAFAR IBN MUHAMMAD IBN 'UMAR AL-BALKHI (CA. 786-886 AD): AHKAM QIRANAT AL-KAWAKIB FI AL-BURUJ

    IRAN OR EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, 14TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A COMMENTARY ON 'ABU MA'SHAR JAFAR IBN MUHAMMAD IBN 'UMAR AL-BALKHI (CA. 786-886 AD): AHKAM QIRANAT AL-KAWAKIB FI AL-BURUJ
    IRAN OR EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, 14TH CENTURY
    On astrology, possibly the Persian translation of Albumasar's Arabic original, manuscript on brownish paper, 36ff., each with 17ll. of black naskh, important words and phrases in red, some words underlined in red, titles in larger black naskh, later seal impressions, minor re-inforcements, small stains, in brown morocco binding with marbled paper doublures
    Folio 6 3/8 x 5¼in. (16.2 x 13.3cm.)


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    'Abu Ma'shar Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn 'Umar al-Balkhi was a famous early astrologer born in Balkh who worked in Baghdad and died in Wasit. He was the number of many astrological works and was known as Albumasar in medieval Europe. The most notable astrological work ascribed to him is the 'Prediction of Changes of Years and Births'. A manuscript in Cairo titled Kitab Akham al-Qiranat wa'l Kawakib wa'l Buruj al-Ithnay 'Ashra (Book of Indication of Conjunction and Corrections of Stars with some other Stars), is very probably the same work (B.A. Rosenfeld and E. Ihsanoglu, Mathematicians, Astronomers and other Scholars of Islamic Civilisation and their Works (7-19th Century), Istanbul, 2003, no. 88, p. 34).

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    Pre-Lot Text

    The following section, (lots 60-109) represents the third installment of the library of manuscripts and calligraphy assembled by the Late Djafar Ghazi. Mr Ghazi was a focussed collector who quietly amassed one of the finest collections of manuscripts and calligraphy to appear on the market. It is a collection whose importance and discerning eye it takes considerable time fully to appreciate. It was put together with great knowledge of the languages and literary traditions of the region. Each is relatively unassuming at first glance, but careful reading reveals them to be incredibly important, and for completely different reasons. The concentration on calligraphy by the best masters of the Timurid, Safavid and Ottoman courts is spectacular, a wonderful demonstration of the calligrapher's art. This is however combined with a broad cross section of earlier academic texts each of which has something - be it a subject, a calligrapher, an author or a historical context - which is surprising, enlightening or more often, both.

    A further extensive group of manuscripts and calligraphy from the Library of the lafe Djafar Ghazi is included at Christie's South Kensington on Friday 9th October.