Basagic Collection of Islamic Manuscripts

The Bašagic collection is a unique assembly of Bosnian and Muslim literary heritage representing Islamic manuscripts collected by Safvet Beg Bašagić – a Bosnian collector, journalist, poet, and bibliographer. Drawn from the holdings of the University library in Bratislava, these items are rare sources of world Islamic culture and offer the researcher access to a comprehensively documented history of Bosnia’s written literature in the 16th to 19th century.

دلائل الخيرات وشوارق الانوار في ذكر الصلاة على النبي المختار

http://retrobib.ulib.sk/Basagic/Normal/0395.jpg

 

This rich selection of Islamic manuscripts contain literary works (prose, poetry), scientific works (Islamic theology, law, history, philosophy, Koran sciences, traditions, Islamic mysticism), and works of various Bosnian Muslim scholars composed in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. The uniqueness of the collection is highlighted by rare Serbian and Croatian texts written in the Arabic script. Moreover, the Bašagic collection covers the history of Bosnia under the Turkish state administration and provides a picture of the religious situation in Bosnia between the 16th to 19th centuries. Aside from their historic value, these manuscripts shed light on the Art of Islamic book making, calligraphy, illustration and miniatures.

 

After the fire at the National Library in Sarajevo in 1992, which destroyed valuable collections of Islamic documents, the Bašagic collection now preserves rare documents about Bosnian Muslim literature. This unique collection is recognised and included on UNESCO’s documentary heritage list.

 

 

The collection contains 284 volumes of manuscripts including 589 individual works: 393 Arabic, 117 Turkish and 88 Persian.

 

 

حاشية على شرح العقائد العضدية

This collection can be browsed or searched by title and item description is available for each document.

 

Islamic Law Materialized : a Corpus of Arabic Legal Documents

A Corpus of Arabic Legal Documents (CALD) is a database of edited (transcribed) primary source materials from the pre-modern period (8th-15th century). According to the creators, CALD “is the first-ever collection of scattered editions of legal documents often [provided] with improved readings compared to earlier print versions”.

CALD is supported by the European Research Council (ERC), and results from the concerted efforts of individuals from several institutions among which the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT).

CALD includes a great variety of documents, such as sales contracts, lease contracts, acknowledgements, charity aims, court attestations, etc., available in PDF with the original Arabic text in modern spelling as well as complete bibliographical data. In addition, images of original materials and/or URL links are provided when possible.

Example of an edited document

Visitors can browse documents either by location (city) or library inventory number, or search the database for legal terms in Arabic.For greater access to CALD’s functionalities, visitors can create an account: logging in allows to cross-search Arabic terms, document types, dates and keywords.
The interface is available in French, English and Arabic.

Library of Congress’ Adbul Hamid II Digital Collections

Among the Library of Congress‘ numerous digital collections, two collections include Ottoman photographic and textual materials from the African and Middle East Division: the Abdul Hamid II collection and the Abdul Hamid Collection of books and serials gifted to the Library of Congress.

Made up of 1,819 photographs in 51 large-format albums from the late 19th century, the Abdul Hamid II collection illustrates the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, and  the modernization of of the Ottoman Empire. Photographs were taken by well-known Ottoman commercial photographers, Turkish military photographers and the Photographic Unit of the Imperial School of Engineering. Abdul-Hamid (1842-1918) was an avid collector and promoter of photography. He presented a copy of the survey to the Library of Congress in 1893 or 1894 and gave a very similar collection to the British Museum (now housed in the British Library).

[Tuberculosis ward of the Hasköy Hospital for Women] / Abdullah Frères (Constantinople), between 1880 and 1883.

The Abdul Hamid Collection of books and serials gifted to the Library of Congress contains over 300 original Ottoman Turkish, Persian and Arabic works as well as translations from European languages of medical, historical, or legal, works. All the volumes are bound in red Morocco with gilt edges, and richly embossed with the following inscription in English, French and Ottoman:
Gift made by H.I. M. the Sultan Abdul-Hamid II to the national library of the United States of America through the Honorable A.S. Hewitt Member of the House of Representatives A.H. 1302-1884 A.D.“.
The collection was donatedto the Library of Congress in 1884.

Medhal-i fıkıh / Abdüssettar. İstanbul : Mahmud Bey Matbaası, 1299 [1882]

Digital contents are available for download in very high resolution, and free to use or reuse as they are in the public domain.

The Book: Print and Manuscript in Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East (1450-1650)

The book: Print and Manuscript…” is a free online course offered by Harvardx on edx (which is an online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT University). This module is about the history of the book and printing.

Books have played an important role in human history and life. At one time, books were the unique means of transmitting information and knowledge and thus shaped humanity’s understanding of the world. Books have existed in various forms and over the course of time have undergone significant changes. Developments in materials, printing techniques and methods have all affected the structure, format and availability of books.

This online course sheds light on various historical aspects of the book, such as, physical structure, and production. The course starts by exploring the history of the early printed book in Europe (1450-1650); then it expands to address printing methods in East Asia with a focus on China and its woodblock printing methods. Lastly, it explores the production of manuscripts in the Islamic world and Middle East with a focus on the “Ottoman context, where a vibrant manuscript culture remained dominant until 1800.”

 

Moreover, illustrated books, handwritten and marginal annotations in books are discussed along with examples of manuscripts that are available online in the Harvard Libraries, which are accessible for deeper investigation and studies.

 

In addition, McGill’s valuable collection of manuscripts and rare books can be explored in order to gain a better and deeper understanding of various aspects of books and manuscripts. More information on Islamic Manuscripts at McGill can be found here.

A list of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman-Turkish Manuscripts held at Islamic Studies Library Collection can also be accessed here.

Fihrist: Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

FIHRIST is an evolving union catalogue, for 11,015 Islamic and other Middle Eastern manuscripts.

The collective holdings of the contributing Libraries of the UK are of substantial intellectual and cultural significance. All contributing libraries have been selectively collecting manuscripts from all subject areas, and of various geographical origins, dating from the 7th to the 19th century CE.

“FIHRIST is a free on-line catalogue for manuscript descriptions.

FIHRIST is not a digital Library”

FIHRIST developed from a pilot-project between Oxford & Cambridge to become               a UK-wide union catalogue. The catalogue is constantly growing in volume, as libraries and research projects are contributing manuscripts descriptions.

The union catalogue provides basic and advanced search options. One can search in English, Arabic or Hebrew by using the additional Keyboard in the search box. When using advanced search, more search options and a list of tips are made available to improve the search results.

In terms of manuscript availability, “if a digital copy of a works exists on-line, a link is provided and maintained by the institution holding the manuscript. To request digital copies, or contact the institution directly, you may use the field Comment on this record at the bottom of every description.” The level of details provided in each entry varies and are changing over time as research progresses.

Sample of an Entry

The user can browse the catalogue by:

  • Classmarks (also called shelfmarks, classification number, etc.)
  • Works
  • People (personal names)
  • Subjects (basic LC subject headings)

While browsing, limiters will varies to best suit each category. For instance, if the user chooses to browse the catalog by classmark, limiters such as language, century, physical form, materials, decoration, institution or collection are made available. Whereas if the user chooses to browse by works, institution & language are the available limiters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REAL: Repository of the Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Documents and materials from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Library and Information Centre invaluable collections are being digitized, and made available through the Academy’s institutional repository (REAL):

  • REAL-d hosts theses submitted at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • REAL-EOD hosts books digitized by the Library and Information Centre (modern books published by the Library, books published by, or related to the Academy and its members)
  • REAL-J hosts hundreds of historical journals -scientific and popular- -most of which in Hungarian
  • REAL-MS hosts hundreds of digitized manuscript materials from the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books and the Oriental Collection
  • REAL-PhD hosts PhD thesis deposited at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and in nine other Hungarian Universities and Institutions
  • REAL-R hosts digitized rare books and manuscripts from the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books and the Oriental Collection

All collections can be either searched (simple and advanced searches) or browsed. Browsing categories, however, vary from one to another to include year of production/publication, author, title, codex, series, University, subject (Library of Congress subject headings), collection, etc.

REAL-MS is the most relevant collection to Islamic and Middle East studies as it contains more than 300 Arabic manuscripts, 155 Persian manuscripts, and 50 Turkish manuscripts. In addition, REAL-MS includes an impressive amount of famous Orientalists’ and Hungarian scholars’ personnal papers and correspondence like Ignaz Goldziher’s correspondence (over 13,000 documents).

Siddiqi, Muhammad Zubair (1925) M. Z. Siddiqi’s letter to Ignaz Goldziher. , Charlottenburg (Manuscript)

If Persian manuscripts can be previewed and/or downloaded as colour PDFs, access to most Arabic and Turkish manuscripts is for the moment “restricted to Repository staff only”. However, a copy can be requested for research purposes.

REAL interface and bibliographic descriptions are available in both Magyar and English.

Islamic Paleography and Codicology workshop: a Summary

From Monday September 11th to Friday September 14th, the Islamic Studies Library had the pleasure to host an Islamic Paleography and Codicology workshop co-organized with the Institute of Islamic Studies, and the McGill Islamic Studies Students Council.

Participants had the opportunity to listen to inspiring and enlightening lectures, some of which involved the display and manipulation of manuscripts and rare books from the McGill Library and Archives collections.

Day 1 of “Islamic Paleography and Codicology Workshop”: An Introduction to the Arts of Bookmaking

Guests lectures were delivered by internationally renowned scholars in the field: Professor François Déroche from Collège de France (Paris, France) and András Riedlmayer from the Aga Khan Program Fine Arts Library at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). Professor Déroche’s presentation focused on a research he has been conducting on three mammoth Qur’ans from the Ommeyad and Abbasid periods. András Riedlmayer’s lecture focused on the arts of illuminating and illustrating manuscripts in the Islamic World, and concluded with a fascinating section on the fake illuminated manuscripts market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other lectures covered various aspects of the production of manuscripts (such as writing supports, scripts, illuminations and illustrations, covers and bindings), as well as some challenges that arise when working with manuscripts (such as identification, location, attribution, etc.). And all sessions of the workshop were very well attended by members of both the McGill community and the wider community.

Day 3 of “Islamic Paleography and Codicology Workshop”: The Persian Manuscripts Tradition

Special thanks go to the Institute of Islamic Studies, the Post-Graduate Students’ Society, McGill Libraries and Archives  and the Dean of Arts Development Fund for supporting this event.

Al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sana’at al-Tanjim (The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology)

Al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sana’at al-Tanjim (التفهيم لاوائل صناعة التنجيم) is a Persian book of instruction in the elements of the Art of Astrology written by a celebrated Iranian scientist Abu- Rayhan al-Biruni, in 440-362HD/ 973-1048 AD.  It is one of the oldest texts in Mathematics and Astrology and has had a deep scientific influence on the world since most Iranian and non-Iranian scientists have made use of this text in their scientific works and papers.

The global significance and values of this book made it to be recognized as an outstanding World Documented Heritage by UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme and in 2011 its oldest existing manuscript in Persian was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of documented heritage. (More information and Nomination file about this manuscripts is accessible here)

The main purpose of Al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sana’at al- Tanjim is to introduce the principles of astrology. The book begins with geometry and arithmetic and continues with astronomy and chronology, moreover Biruni explains the use of the astrolabe for astronomical and astrological purposes. This book consists of 530 questions and answers in an understandable manner for new learners of science. Each new topic starts with a question posed by an imaginary student and ends in an answer by an invented professor. Biruni wrote this book responding to Reyhanah’s request – the daughter of Hussein/Hassan Khwarizmi in 420 HD/ 1029 AD.

What makes this book particularly precious and adds to its rarity is its scientific and linguistic significance, its physical specification and the time of its transcription – less than hundred years after author’s death.

From the linguistic point of view this self-study on Astrology is considered an important work in Persian language since Biruni used the most original and oldest terms and expressions of the Persian language regarding history, traditions and chronology of the Iranians in this book. Moreover Abu- Rayhan al- Biruni used some figures and drawings in order to explain difficult mathematical and astrological concepts in a simplified manner; both the figures and the script were written in bright red and black color.

This manuscript has been digitized by National Library and Archives of Iran and is available on DVD and can be accessed at Islamic Studies Library at McGill.

 

Digital Library of the Middle East

DLME is a response to the current threats in the form of destruction, looting and illegal trade to the cultural heritage of the Middle East.

The digital Library of the Middle East aims to federate different types of cultural heritage material consisting of archives, manuscripts, museum objects, media and archeological and intangible heritage collections. The DLME implements international cultural preservation goals by providing accessibility and urging documentation and digitization; contributing to security and sustainability by encouraging inventory creation, cataloguing, documentation and digitization of collections as well as forming a community of interest that seeks collaboration among people, organization and countries who value this heritage; which in returns can help mitigate looting and the illegal resale of heritage materials.

The digital platform of the DLME brings together digital records of accessible artifacts ranging across twelve millennia. It provides metadata for each objects that describes various aspects of the artifact or document, it might include its contested meaning or significance, its history and its provenance when available. This platform is searchable, also the collection is classified based on different criteria such as Language, type, date, creator, medium and etc.The Digital Library of the Middle East is continuously developing and progressing through scholarly inputs, crowd-sourcing and new knowledge discovered through its use.

Arcadian Library Online: database trial

The Arcadian Library Online platform makes available to students and researchers the collection of the Arcadian Library, a privately-owned library focusing on the shared cultural heritage of Europe and the Middle East. Materials in the Arcadian Library’s collection cover a wide-range of topics among which: travel accounts, history of science and medicine, literature, history, etc.In addition to rare printed books, the Arcadian Library also owns manuscript and documentary material of great importance and rarity.

The History of Science and Medicine collection “includes manuscripts, incunabula, early printed books and monographs from the 10th to 20th centuries. The collection showcases the contribution of early Arab and Persian scientists, doctors and thinkers; their translation, reception and influence in Europe and their lasting influence on the development of Western scientific and medical knowledge. It includes:

The Arcadian Library Online displays colour images in high resolution. Materials can be saved, downloaded, printed, shared, and cited directly from the viewer.

The interface is bilingual English/Arabic, and the database searchable in both languages.