al-Kawakib al-durriya fi madh khayr al-bariyya (Celestial lights in praise of the best of the creation) known as Qasida al-Burda (Ode to the Mantle of the Prophet) by Sharaf al-Din Abi Abdallah Muhammad ibn Sa’id Dalasi al-Busiri (d. 1296) and al-Hizb al-Sayfi (Prayer of the Sword)

Two manuscripts bound together: al-Kawakib al-durriya fi madh khayr al-bariyya (Celestial lights in praise of the best of the creation) known as Qasida al-burda (Ode to the Mantle of the Prophet) by Sharaf al-Din Abi Abdallah Muhammad ibn Sa’id Dalasi al-Busiri and al-Hizb al-Sayfi (Prayer of the Sword); Arabic in black, red, blue, and green muhaqqaq and naskh script; 41 folios, Qasida al-Burda: Arabic, fol. 1-28 with two illuminations (fols.1 recto and 28 recto), Al-Hizb al-Sayfi: Arabic, fols. 29-41 with one illumination (fol. 29 recto); Inscriptions on fols 28 recto and 29 recto; standard page: 3 lines of muhaqqaq and 9 lines of naskh.
Binding: The two manuscripts have no covers.

View right to left

Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, ca. 1460
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 39.3 x 29.2 cm (15 1/2 x 11 1/2 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1986.29
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript

Keywords
Egypt, Henri Vever collection, illumination, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), thuluth script, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

?-?
Likely Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl (1880-1936), method of acquisition unknown [1]

?-1912
Charles Vignier (1868-1934), method of acquisition unknown [2]

1912-1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), purchased from Charles Vignier [3]

1942-1947
Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947), bequest of Henri Vever [4]

1947-1986
Francois Mautin (1907-2003), bequest of Jeanne Louise Monthiers and Henri Vever [5]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased from Francois Mautin [6]

Notes:

[1] On the exterior of the bound manuscripts, one can see, "no. 207 Riefstahl" written in pencil. Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl was a German-American art historian specializing in medieval Islamic art. At the beginning of World War I, Meyer Riefstahl relocated from Paris, France to New York City, where he eventually became a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts. Meyer Riefstahl left his art collection in Paris and the French government sequestered the collection as an "Enemy Alien Asset." The collection was sold in two auctions, the first in 1923 and the second in 1925.

[2] See ledger cited in note 3. See also Glenn D. Lowry and Milo Cleveland Beach with Roya Marefat and Wheeler M. Thackston, "An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection" [exhibition catalogue] (Washington, D.C. and Seattle: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and University of Washington Press, 1986), 25. Charles Vignier was a Swiss-born writer, collector, and art dealer who opened his first gallery in 1904. Between 1920 and 1930, he served as the expert in Asian art at the Parisian auction house, Hôtel Drouot.

[3] An accomplished French jeweler and collector, Henri Vever amassed a large collection of fine art. His collections of Japanese prints and Islamic manuscripts were widely respected, as Vever acquired pieces of exceptional quality and rarity. Intensely studying the visual aspects of Islamic art, loaning to exhibitions, and publishing on Islamic art, Vever quickly became one of the leading experts on Islamic painting and manuscripts.
See Henri Vever Account Ledger, FSA A1988.04_2.2.51, from Henri Vever Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. On September 12, 1912, Vever noted 2 purchases from Vignier, 34 Rue Laffitte. Vever describes the manuscript as "1 vol. dérelié, art Egypte arabe, frontispice et rosace, pour le sultan Bars Bay 1422-1438."

[4] Upon Henri Vever's death on September 25, 1942, his wife, Jeanne Louise Monthiers inherited the manuscript. See exhibits F and G of Agreement of Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection, January 9, 1986, copy in object file.

[5] Upon the death of Jeanne Louise Monthiers, as stipulated in the will of Henri Vever, the family's assets were divided evenly between his two grandchildren. His only grandson, Francois Mautin inherited the collection known as "The Henri Vever Collection of Oriental Art and Manuscripts Including Persian and Indian Art and Manuscripts." This manuscript is part of that collection. See exhibits F and G as cited in note 3.

[6] The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased the entirety of the collection from Francois Mautin on January 9, 1986. See purchase agreement, copy in object file.

Research completed May 4, 2022.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Henri Vever 1854-1942
Jeanne Louise Monthiers 1861 - 1947
Charles Vignier 1863-1934
Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl 1880-1936
Francois Mautin 1907 - 2003

Description

Two manuscripts bound together: al-Kawakib al-durriya fi madh khayr al-bariyya (Celestial lights in praise of the best of the creation) known as Qasida al-burda (Ode to the Mantle of the Prophet) by Sharaf al-Din Abi Abdallah Muhammad ibn Sa'id Dalasi al-Busiri and al-Hizb al-Sayfi (Prayer of the Sword); Arabic in black, red, blue, and green muhaqqaq and naskh script; 41 folios, Qasida al-Burda: Arabic, fol. 1-28 with two illuminations (fols.1 recto and 28 recto), Al-Hizb al-Sayfi: Arabic, fols. 29-41 with one illumination (fol. 29 recto); Inscriptions on fols 28 recto and 29 recto; standard page: 3 lines of muhaqqaq and 9 lines of naskh.
Binding: The two manuscripts have no covers.

Inscription(s)

Fol. 1recto: "For the treasury of Our master the Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf Abi'l-Nasr Inal."
Fol. 28recto: "At the service of the Mamluk Esinbay b. Abdullah al-Malik al-Ashrafi."
Fol. 29recto: "Abi'l-Nasr Barsbay. May God protect his kingdom forever and make firm the foundations of his empire."

Published References
  • Georges Marteau, Henri Vever. Miniatures Persanes: tirees des collections de M.M. Henry d'Allemagne, Claude Anet, Henri Aubrey... 2 vols., Paris, June-October 1912. cat. 23, vol. 1: pl. XXIII.
  • The Hague. Catalogus tentoonstelling van Islamische kunst. cat. 3, p. 21.
  • 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. 34, p. 25.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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