Ṭabā’i‘ al-ḥayawān طبائع الحيوان Marwazī, Sharaf al-Zamān Ṭāhir مروزي، شرف الزمان طاه

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The record is made up of Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. xxviii+209+iv. It was created in 13th century. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Oriental Manuscripts.

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Treatise on zoology in five chapters (مقالات) by Sharaf al-Zamān Ṭāhir al-Marwazī (شرف الزمان طاهر المروزي; fl. 1056-1125). Collation with the two other known copies of this text (British Library, Delhi Arabic 1949 and UCLA, MS Ar. 52) shows that this copy contains a portion of chapter one (ends f. 13r), the whole of chapters two through four and a portion of chapter 5 (see Stern, 'Some Fragments of Galen's On Dispositions [Περὶ ἠθῶν] in Arabic', Classsical Quarterly , new series 6, (1956) pp. 268-69 and note 18).

Begins (f. 1r, lines 1-2 [defective at beginning]):

عنه يتحرك إلى جهات شتى فيكون ذلك المبدأ هو الخر (؟) من المنى الذي إذا اتحكم وصار نضوه

كان قلبًا فيجب إذن أن يكون أول وعاء يتكون هو وعاء الروح ويكون في أول الحلقة غير محسوس

Ends (f. 209r, lines 14-17 [defective at end]):

... هو غطاء الصدف شبه صدف الفرفير يسمي

أبو خيس وهو طيب الرائحة لأنّ حيوانه يرفع الباردين وأجوده بالوحد في حر القلم (؟ ...)

وقد يوجد ببلاد الهند في المياه القائمة الشعيرة والذي يوتي به من بحر ولزم لونه

(...) البياض دسم وقديري به من من أبواد (؟) ويكون لونه أسود وهو أصغر وكلاهما طيبا

Extent and format
Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. xxviii+209+iv
Physical characteristics

Material: Eastern laid paper

Dimensions: 180 x 155 mm leaf [150 x 110 mm written]

Foliation: British Museum foliation in pencil

Ruling: Misṭarah ?; 17-18 lines per page; vertical spacing 13 lines per 10 cm

Script: Naskh

Ink: Black ink, with rubricated headings and ocassional punctuation in red; some spaces for rubricated headings left blank

Binding: Eastern binding in red leather with flap; gold-tooled borders but no medallion on boards; doublure of light brown leather with gold-tooled borders

Condition: Waterstains in margins

Marginalia: Occasional marginalia by many hands

Seals: None

Written in
Arabic in Arabic script

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Oriental Manuscripts
Access conditions


Archive reference
Add MS 21102

History of this record

13th century (CE, Gregorian)
Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased at Sotheby's, 5 July 1855, lot 247

Related material

Finding aids

Cureton, William and Charles Rieu, Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum orientalium qui in Museo Britannico asservantur. Pars secunda, codices arabicos amplectens (London: The British Museum, 1846-71), Item 946, pp. 460-61

Select Bibliography

Studies and partial editions:

  • Iskandar, Albert Z., 'A Doctor's Book on Zoology: al-Marwazī's Ṭabā’i‘ al-ḥayawān (Nature of Animals) Re-assessed', Oriens 27/28 (1981) pp. 266–312
  • Marwazī, Sharaf al-Zamān Ṭāhir, Sharaf Al-Zamān Tạ̄hir Marvazī on China, the Turks and India , edited and translated by Vladimir Minorsky (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1942; reprinted as vol. 8 in the series The Muslim world, 1100-1700: Early Sources on Middle East History, Geography and Travel , edited by Hiroyuki Mashita [London: Routledge, 2007])
  • Stern, S.M., 'Some Fragments of Galen's On Dispositions (Περὶ ἠθῶν) in Arabic', Classsical Quarterly , new series 6, (1956) pp. 91-101, on pp. 93-96 and 98-101

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Ṭabā’i‘ al-ḥayawān طبائع الحيوان Marwazī, Sharaf al-Zamān Ṭāhir مروزي، شرف الزمان طاه, British Library: Oriental Manuscripts, Add MS 21102, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100027134517.0x000001> [accessed 7 December 2019]

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