Islamic and Near Eastern Books and Manuscripts

Islamic and Near Eastern Books and Manuscripts

Islamic and Near Eastern Books and Manuscripts

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This specialised category is one that we added to our regular repertoire only a few years ago, but we have already seen a considerable measure of success. The department is headed by our brilliant and enthusiastic specialist, Roxana Kashani, and we have two regular sales each year dedicated to these items, held during London Islamic weeks (usually in April and October each year).

Recent successes include a miniature leaf shaped manuscript Qur’an, probably from Turkey and dated 1284 AH (1867/68 AD), (December 2016, lot 112, sold for £4,960); an illuminated manuscript of the Dala'il al-Khayrat, dated 1216 AH. (1801/2 AD) and illustrated in a distinctively Moroccan style (July 2017, lot 131, sold for £9,300); an early nineteenth-century miniature with a very rare opium smoking scene, possibly Kishangarh school, and from Mughal India (July 2017, lot 162, sold for £1,416); an Ottoman manuscript codex of Ibrahim Haqqi, Ma’riftnama, an encyclopedia including scientific discoveries derived from Copernicus, dated 1219 AH (1804 AD) (December 2017, lot 123, sold for £13,640); a rare manuscript of the Kitab zul Ala'mani wa wajah al-Tahani (a commentary on the Qur'an), from Oman, dated the month of Shawwal 1120 AH (1708-09 AD) (April 2018, lot 38, sold for the staggering sum of £47,120); a fine Persian Divan of Poetry in Arabic, on blue paper speckled with gold, from the second quarter of the sixteenth century (July 2018, lot 119: sold for £16,120); two large panoramic views of Mecca, painted around 1840 (July 2018, lot 139: sold for £4,960) (showing above); a set of four Indian painted studies on royal horses, possibly specimens from the stables of Maharana Ari Singh, produced by the Mewar School in Udaipur, Rajasthan, from c. 1780 AD (July 2018, lot 146, sold for £2,368); a tiny but precise Ganjifa playing card, (showing right), from early nineteenth-century Mughal India, depicting a mounted hunter (July 2018, lot 149, sold for £124); a fragmentary manuscript codex of Ali bin Muhammad al-Husain al-Bazdawi, Al-Juzu' al-Thani min 'Usul al'Imam al-Bazdawi Usul al-Bazdawi, possibly from Syria, and dated 534 AH (1140 AD), and thus copied only 52 years after the death of the author (December 2018, lot 74, sold for £4,960).

On 25 October 2018, we offered a small specialised sale of printed books by or relating to Richard Francis Burton and his wife, Isabel, some of great rarity and from their own libraries; the auction realised a total of £54,000 against pre-sale estimates of £33,000-48,000.


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