I’ve spent the day reading Taqwīm al-ṣiḥḥah تقويم الصحّة, a manuscript written by Ibn Buṭlān, it was presented to Saladin’s son, الملك الظاهر, the King of Aleppo in 1213 AD. Basically, the book is a long mesmerizing chart that’s briefly reviewing many kinds of food, herbs, habits, even music, and sports!
All pages of the content are having the same design, for an instant, the following page is reviewing some types of fruits, and what are the cons and pros and why? And what’s the targeted age group.. plus much interesting information:
And here is an interesting clipping, which talks about Maqlouba on the section of dishes!
Nothing’s more magical to own a book after someone have read it, dog-eared some pages, and lift some doodles and notes here and there! Sometimes I find a book signed by its author, with few little words to another special person to her/him.. that is super incredible! Or a book that was exchanged between friends, family members and so on.. All of these details make the world of used books the right place for me.
Amman, as all other cities in the world have its own shops that sell second-hand books, hereunder my list for the best ones:
متاجر الكتب المستعملة في عمّان
• Mahall al-Maa محل الماء
Small shop located in Quraish street behind the Amman’s nymphaeum, owned by Hamzeh, a wonderful person, and a true booklover, Hamzeh has a massive collection of books, mostly rare ones! I spend hours and sometimes days overwhelmed his gems! Previously, Hamzeh inherited his late father’s bookshop under the name of Khazanet Aljahith, until 2017, he decided to launch his own new venture with a new brand name, and that was: Mahall al-Maa, which translate into English as: The Shop of Water, the concept behind that name came from the fact: water is essential for every life form, and so the books! Hamzeh believes in this value, therefore he launched a new initiative of its kind, he called it:”Take a book and pay as you wish!” Just to support the reading culture!
Despite the difficult economic situation of the country and this business, in particular, Hamzeh’s keeps his promise and encourage
his ‘Guests’ to maintain the reading habit, and he open a 24/7, even if that costs him a lot. A Nobel man! Please visit his facebook page from here.
This is a big research that I’m working on, I’m so thrilled to dig more to reveal more and more stories from our own history. Here I’m sharing a piece that amused me, it’s a spread from Ibn al-Nafis book: Compendium of the Canon of Medicine which he wrote around 1240 CE – 1288 CE, I added some guiding graphics to emphasis my findings.
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.