Cairo Genizah : Alchemy; letter

Cairo Genizah

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Recto: two alchemical recipes. The first recipe (ll. 1-8) is aimed at producing ‘the work’ (אלצנעה), a word commonly used for indicating the production of gold, silver or the elixir that would turn base metals into precious ones. Ingredients mentioned are: sublimated arsenic, vinegar, sulphur, dissolved salt, sublimated mercury. The second recipe is composed of two parts. The first part (ll. 8-14) describes a preparation requiring silver, salt, water, mercury, and sal ammoniac that is aimed at obtaining a clear plate of metal. The second part (ll. 14-end) requires the use of quicksilver, horse manure, sal ammoniac, the Khurasani (?) and young boys’ urine. The end of the recipe is lost. Verso: part of a widely-spaced letter sent to a nagid in Fusṭāṭ.</p>

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