Folio from Aja’ib al-makhluqat wa- ghara’ib al-mawjudat (Wonders of creation and marvels of creatures and strange things existing) by al-Qazvini (d.1283); recto: text; verso: Wild Ox (Bagar al-Wahsh)

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of an Aja’ib al-makhluqat wa- ghara’ib al-mawjudat (Wonders of creation and marvels of creatures and strange things existing) by al-Qazvini; text: Arabic in black and red nasta’liq script; recto: text, one column, 23 lines; verso: illustration and text: Wild ox (Bagar al-wahsh); one of a group of 83 folios.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and black rulings on cream-colored paper.

Maker(s)
Author: Muhammad al-Qazvini (ca. 1203-1283)
Historical period(s)
early 15th century
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 32.7 x 23 cm (12 7/8 x 9 1/16 in)
Geography
Iraq or Eastern Turkey
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1957.13
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
Iraq, ox, Turkey, Wonders of Creation, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of an Aja'ib al-makhluqat wa- ghara'ib al-mawjudat (Wonders of creation and marvels of creatures and strange things existing) by al-Qazvini; text: Arabic in black and red nasta'liq script; recto: text, one column, 23 lines; verso: illustration and text: Wild ox (Bagar al-wahsh); one of a group of 83 folios.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and black rulings on cream-colored paper.

Label

One of the most celebrated literary works in the Islamic world is Qazvini's monumental cosmography, written in the mid-thirteenth century. The first of its two main sections describes the heavenly bodies, while the second discusses geography, flora, fauna, and, finally, man.

For each chapter, the author begins with a detailed description. The wild ox, for instance, is characterized as an elegant animal, with long horns, who enjoys music and derives great pleasure from the sound of passing arrows. Its horns, meat, and blood are reputed to possess many healing qualities. The depiction of the wild ox is also one of the most remarkable compositions in this copy of Qazvini's text. Placed asymmetrically on the page, the animal's extended forelegs and turned head heighten its sense of agility and speed.

Published References
  • Barbara Schmitz. Islamic Manuscripts in the New York Public Library. New York. pp. 3, 7.
  • Laurence Binyon, J.V.S. Wilkinson, Basil Gray. Persian Miniature Painting: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Miniatures Exhibited at Burlington House, January-March 1931. Exh. cat. Oxford, January - March 1931. cat. 9, p. 26, pl. 6.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 67, p. 128.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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