Kitāb ṣuwar al-kawākib al-thābitah كتاب صور الكواكب الثابتة Ṣūfī, ʻAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʻUmar صوفى، عبد الرحمن ابن عمر

Or 5323

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The record is made up of Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. iii+86+ii. It was created in 1260-1280. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Oriental Manuscripts.

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Content

An illustrated description by ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī (عبد الرحمن الصوفي) of the 48 classical constellations discussed by Ptolemy in his Almagest . The text contains labelled illustrations of the 48 constellations as viewed on a celestial globe and as viewed in the sky, along with supporting tables of individual stars within each constellation listing their Arabic names, celestial coordinates and magnitudes.

This copy is defective at the beginning, missing the start of the preface, is wanting several folios and is imperfect in other ways (see detailed notes in English concerning these imperfections bound into front of volume).

Incipit (f. 1r, lines 1-4):

وهذا الكوكب هو ملاصق للكوكب السادس من كواكب الإكليل لأنهما جميعًا في الطول في موضع واحد غير أن الذي

على الركبة أميل إلى الجنوب في العرض مقدار خمسين دقيقة وهما جميعًا في القدر الرابع. ولعل النقلة

أو الوراقين أثبتوا لهذين الكوكبين في الأقدار د فغلط الوراق وقدر أنه ب فأثبتهما جميعًا في

القدر الثاني ...

The text ends (f. 86r) with a table headed جدول كوكبة الحوت الجنوبي بزيادة يب مب على ما في المجسطي في الطول (‘Table of the stars of Pisces australis with increase 12, 42 according to the longitudes in the Almagest’).

Illustrations:

Northern Hemisphere (النصف الشمالي من الكرة)

  • (f. 7r) Ursa minor (الدب الأصغر) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 8v) Ursa major (الدب الأكبر) as viewed on a celestial globe (upper) and as viewed in the sky (lower)
  • (f. 11v) Draco (التنين) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 12r) Cepheus (قيفاوس) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 13v) Boötes (العواء) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 15v) Lyra (السُلياق) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 17r) Cygnus (الدجاجة) as viewed on a celestial globe (upper) and as viewed in the sky (lower)
  • (f. 19r) Cassiopeia (ذات الكرسي) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 21v) Perseus (بَرشاوش) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 22r) Auriga (ممسك الأعنة) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 23v) Serpentarius (الحوا والحية) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 24v) Serpentarius (الحوا والحية) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 27v) Sagitta (السهم) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 28v, upper) Aquila (العقاب) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 28, lower) Delphinus (الدلفين) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 29v) Equus minor (قطعة الفرس) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 30v) Pegasus (الفرس الأعظم) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 32v) Andromeda (المرأة المسلسلة) as viewed on a celestial globe (upper) and as viewed in the sky (lower)
  • (f. 33r) Andromeda with a fish
  • (f. 33v) Andromeda with a fish
  • (f. 34r) Triangulum (المثلث) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)

Signs of the Zodiac (البروج)

  • (f. 35v) Aries (الحمل) as viewed on a celestial globe (upper) and as viewed in the sky (lower)
  • (f. 38v) Taurus (الثور) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 39r) Taurus (الثور) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 41v) Gemini (التؤمان) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 42r) Gemini (التؤمان) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 43v) Cancer (السرطان) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 45v) Leo (الأسد) as viewed on a celestial globe (upper) and as viewed in the sky (lower)
  • (f. 50r) Libra (الميزان) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 51v) Scorpio (العقرب) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 53r) Sagittarius (الرامي) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 54r) Sagittarius (الرامي) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 55v) Capricorn (الجدي) as viewed on a celestial globe (upper) and as viewed in the sky (lower)
  • (f. 58r) Aquarius (ساكب الماء) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 58v) Aquarius (ساكب الماء) as viewed in the sky

Southern Hemisphere (النصف الجنوبي من الكرة)

  • (f. 61r) Cetus (قيطسّ) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 61v) Cetus (قيطسّ) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 63v) Orion (الجوزاء) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 64v) Orion (الجوزاء الجنوبي) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 65v) Eridanus (النهر) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 67r) Eridanus (النهر) as viewed on a cestial sphere
  • (f. 68r) Canis major (الكلب الأكبر) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 70v) Lepus (الأرنب) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 72v) Canis minor (الكلب الأصغر)
  • (f. 75r) Argo navis (السفينة) as viewed on a celestial globe
  • (f. 75v) Argo navis (السفينة) as viewed in the sky
  • (f. 77r) Hydra (الشجاع) as viewed in the sky (right) and as viewed on a celestial globe (left)
  • (f. 78v) Crater (الباطية) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 79v) Corvus (الغراب) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 80r) Centaurus and Lupus (قنطورس والسبع) as viewed on a celestial globe (upper) and as viewed in the sky (lower)
  • (f. 83r) Ara (المجمرة) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 83v) Corona australis (الإكليل الجنوبي) as viewed on a celestial globe (right) and as viewed in the sky (left)
  • (f. 85r) Piscis australis (الحوت الجنوبي) as viewed in the sky (upper) and as viewed on a celestial globe (lower)

A diagram (f. 86r) inscribed by an owner in Qazwīn, dated 678 AH (AD 1279-80) uses a method for determining the qiblah that was first described in Marāgha in 1271. For this and a discussion of the date of this manuscript see Carey, 'Mapping the Mnemonic', 2010.

Extent and format
Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. iii+86+ii
Physical characteristics

Material: Paper

Dimensions: 335 x 240 mm leaf [260 x 200 mm written]

Foliation: British Museum foliation in pencil; Arabic foliation in in faded brown ink along with what are perhaps quire Collection of papers folded in half and stitched together to form a gathering of folios. marks although extensive damage to and replacement of margins makes this difficult to determine.

Ruling: none visible; an average of 26 lines per page on pages without illustrations or tables; vertical spacing 11 lines per 10 cm

Script: Naskh

Ink: Black ink, with rubricated headings, labels and text stops in red. Some tables and illustrations in ink that has faded to brown. Stars in illustrations are outlined in red and fill in gold

Decoration:

Binding: British Museum binding

Condition: Defective at beginning and missing a number of leaves (see notes bound into front of volume); waterstains and foxing towards tail fore-edge margin; all margins have been replaced but this rarely affects text, tables or illustrations

Marginalia: Very few marginal corrections and notes by more than one hand

Written in
Arabic in Arabic script
Type
Manuscript

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Oriental Manuscripts
Access conditions

Restrictions to access apply please consult British Library staff

Archive reference
Or 5323

History of this record

Date(s)
1260-1280 (CE, Gregorian)
Context of creation

Marāghah (Iran)?

Provenance

Three owners' inscriptions on f. 86r:

  • Diagram inscribed by owner in Qazwīn, dated 678 AH (AD 1279-80); illegible stamp below (toward fore-edge)
  • Inscribed Halākū, Baghdād, no date, with stamp inscribed Halākū below (toward gutter, upper)
  • Inscribed 25 Shawwāl 1250 AH (24 February 1835), no name; illegible stamp below (toward gutter, lower)
Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased from Gulbenkians Co., March 28 1898

Related material

Finding aids

Ellis, A.G. and Edward Edwards, A Descriptive List of the Arabic Manuscripts Acquired by the Trustees of the British Museum since 1894 (London: British Museum, 1912), p. 39

Related primary sources

The British Library holds other copies: Or 1407, IO Islamic 1407, Add 7488, IO Islamic. The Bodleian holds a copy Marsh 144.

Select Bibliography

Edition:

  • al-Ṣūfī, ʻAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʻUmar, Kitāb ṣuwar al-kawākib al-thamanīyah wa-al-arba‘īn (Ḥaydarābād: Maṭba‘at Majlis Dā’irat al-Ma‘ārif al-‘Uthmānīyah, 1954; reprint Bayrūt: Dār al-Āfāq al-Jadīdah, 1981)

Translation:

  • al-Ṣūfī, ʻAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʻUmar Description des étoiles fixes: compos ée au milieu du dixi ème siècle de notre ère, trans. by H.C.F.C Schjellerup (St-Pétersbourg: Commissionnaires de l'Académie Impériale des sciences, 1874)

Studies:

  • ‘Abdarraḥmān aṣ-Ṣūfī Abu l-Ḥusain ibn ‘Umar (d. 376/986): texts and studies , ed. by F. Sezgin and others (Frankfurt am Main: Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, 1997)
  • Carey, Moya 'Mapping the Mnemonic: A Late Thirteenth-Century Copy of al- Ṣūfī'sBook of the Constellations' in Anna Contadini, ed., Arab Painting. Text and Image in Illustrated Arabic Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill, 2010) pp. 65-71

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Kitāb ṣuwar al-kawākib al-thābitah كتاب صور الكواكب الثابتة Ṣūfī, ʻAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʻUmar صوفى، عبد الرحمن ابن عمر, British Library: Oriental Manuscripts, Or 5323, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100000000094.0x000093> [accessed 20 May 2019]

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