7 - 8 April 2004
NAKHSHABI, Diya. Ladhdhat al-Nisa [Sensual Delights of Women]. Paris: The Black Sun Press, .
12° (127 x 80mm). Colour-printed facsimile text and illustrations, illustrations hand-coloured, all pages with gilt borders. Original black morocco gilt, boards gilt-stamped in imitation of Islamicate bindings, gilt morocco endleaves (corners very lightly rubbed). Provenance: sale, Sotheby's London, 13 December 1993, lot 103.
FIRST EDITION, NO. 5 OF 20 COPIES. RARE. Ladhdhat al-Nisa was a substantial fragment of a manuscript that had been 'found in Damascus' (according to the Crosbys' colophon), probably during the trip that Harry and Caresse Crosby and Harry's mother took to Egypt, Syria and Turkey at the beginning of 1928 (which included a stop at Damascus). The text, which is Indian in origin but written in Persian, commences: 'The writer of this text and the illustrator of this picture Diya Nakhshabi has said that a learned man is the one who has knowledge of all sciences, and is not ignorant of any. If any body is ignorant of this treatise it is like having a beautiful young lady fallen in your hand and not knowing what to do with her, the same as if a nutmeg falls in the hands of a baboon, if he does not know how to eat it, it is of no use. For this reason, these few folios were written and called Ladhdhat al-Nisa [Sensual Delights of Women]'. The manuscript was reproduced page-by-page and a suitable style of binding designed, and the volume was issued in an edition of only twenty copies, which were offered at 1,000 francs (40 dollars) to buyers in France (presumably due to fears of confiscation by American or English customs officials). Minkoff A14; Published in Paris p.408.
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