Islamic Manuscripts : ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt


Islamic Manuscripts

A richly illuminated 16th Century CE copy of the Persian version of Qazwini's ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharāʼib al-mawjūdāt, 'The marvels of creation and the oddities of existence', commonly known as 'The cosmography of Qazwini'..

The text is structured according to a hierarchical cosmological order, with the celestial spheres, incorporating the fixed stars, the 12 signs of the Zodiac, stellar constellations and the surrounding spheres, which make up the observable celestial phenomena, followed by the invisible phenomena, the 'Guardians of the Kingdom of God' and other angels, and the division of time and calendars.

In the second section of the work the elemental division of the sublunar sphere is classified into the four elements fire, wind, water and earth. The seas, oceans and islands including their inhabitants, are governed by Water, while Earth contains the mountains, wells, rivers, minerals, plants and the animal kingdom, including human beings and their cultures.

Numerous illustrations of commonly known mammals, birds, insects and reptiles can be found, along with strange beings, which conclude the text.

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