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"Design for a Cup to Serve Wine at Drinking Parties", Folio from a Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al-Jazari

Author:
Badi al-Zaman ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari (1136–1206)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
dated A.H. 715/A.D. 1315
Geography:
probably Syria
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
H. 12 3/8 in. (31.5 cm) W. 8 11/16 in. (22 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1955
Accession Number:
55.121.14
Not on view
This page comes from a treatise on fantastic devices invented by the author al-Jazari. This goblet is described in the text as 'arbitrating' at drinking parties: the bird atop the lid whistles until the goblet is full of wine, and then continues to whistle until the chosen guest empties it. While illustrated manuscripts were growing increasingly popular in the fourteenth century, this folio is a rare survival from Syria, where few such manuscripts are known from this date.
Inscription: Definition: Arabic
Translation: The inscription and date of this manuscript are contained in folio 207 recto which finishes up the last chapter of the last book, continuing from folio 206 verso. Al-Jazari then makes a few remarks about the great value of his work, and beginning line 8 the scribe writes: "This manuscript is transcribed from the manuscript of the author, God's blessing be upon him. And the letters and their substitutes, and the drawing of the pictures of the chapters, and what he described, he did correctly, and wrote it with his own handwriting- may God be pleased with him." Beginning line 14 the colophon reads: "And praise be to God, the Lord of Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon Lord Muhammad and his family and all his companions. Written by the seeker after God Most High, Farkh ibn Abd al-Latif,the scribe, al-Yakuti almawlawi, praising God Most High and praying for his Prophet Muhammad and his family; at the end of Ramadan the blessed, year 715 A.H. [i.e., December 28, 1315]."
Notes: Translated by F.E. Day, 1956

Marking: See additional card.
Jack S. Rofe, Scotland (until 1929; his sale, Sotheby's, London, December 12, 1929, nos. 383, 385-387, 582); [ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, by 1930–at least 1953]; [ Kevorkian Foundation, New York, until 1955; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks," November 21, 1981–January 10, 1982.

Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Making the Invisible Visible," April 2, 2013–August 4, 2013.

Robinson, Basil William. The Kevorkian Collection: Islamic and Indian Illustrated Manuscripts, Miniature Paintings and Drawings. New York, 1953. no. 1, p. 10.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 14, pp. 72-73, ill. p. 73 (b/w).



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