My favorite book seller has called me few days ago to see his new (historic) collection of Arabic manuscripts and books, it was a leather bag contains couple of tens of different manuscript from different origins, and another five books that are totally handwritten. The subjects of these books and manuscripts were about Islamic religious provisions and some Arabic language grammar.
I was amazed by two books from the collection, they have got a very unique styles for the margins, which was an important space in each Arabic book, so the author or the scholar could write more comments and highlights that are connected with the page content. The source of one of them was Dagestan, 1903, and the other book is unknown, but I assume it’s from the same region and the same time period.
In this post I’ll share some beautiful pictures of this “Margin Art” with my commentary on them.
The unknown book:
– An ordinary spread view of the book, you can see the main body text, and there is some really size text between its lines, and of course you can see the margins and how were they been utilized.
– The size of script writing compared to my wedding ring.
– A beautiful writing for the word “Poetry” in Thuluth style.
– A Thuluth script piece, which says: “Demand: The reasons of prevent things from funny people!” (مطلب: سبب منع الأشياء عن الطرفاء)
– A chapter name.
– The word “Search” having this beautiful shape.
– Another note might be from author him self.
– A beautiful minimal calligraphy for the phrase: Ya Yotm (…) all of you and all of them.
The Second Book, Dagestan, 1903.
– In this book, I’ve found a very beautiful designs for the word “Mohhem” which translates to Important in Arabic, this word has got different designs, and as we see here it wasn’t made by a calligraphic pen, it was drown by a fine nip or a pointy pen and then it was filled with ink, that what we call now as: Lettering!
This outstanding design approach were taken seriously across the book margins, scroll down and enjoy looking at them!
– The threads the goes out from the word “Important” are linked with the related part on that page.
– The word “Nafees” came here as well, which means Priceless.
– The word Important in a shape of a knife, it is similar to the Caucasian Knife.
– And here comes the brave design, you can see how the overall design looks so modern! So original and yet attractive! The sentence says: مهم للمخاطب والمفاد كون المراد للمتكلم and the translation could be: “An important for the addressee, and the benefit is to address the speaker” ~ or something like this.. I’m not sure!
– Similar design, with the distinguished Shadda shape like a fork!
Brilliant and Inspiring Concept Masha’Allah !
The art of text margins, as you have nicely maned it, is a fascinating subject that opens a window to earlier abstractions based on arabic calligraphy, way before arab modern art started to explore calligraphy in the 1980. I am writing to you because I have a big collection of hand-written books (I think also brought to Jordan by Daghistanies in the late 1990s), maybe some 30 or more books, ive never counted them. if you are interested, i would be happy to give you access to them.
Inspiring subject and documents!Thanks for sharing.
Reblogged this on Mahall al-Maa محل الماء.
Many thanks for sharing, Hussein. I’ve always been fascinated by margin artwork in Arabic and Islamic manuscripts. The collection you shared contrasts nicely with the roundels and geometric patterns that adorns the margins of the works I’ve seen.