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31 copies of 30 works on alchemy

The collection of the al-Biruni Institute keeps 31 copies of 30 works on alchemy, 17 of which are anonymous records, excerpts, compilations and translations from different alchemic treatises.

The remaining 13 works may be divided into two types according to their contents – works on hermetic and rational alchemy.

The Oriental alchemy dates back to the beginning of the 8th century and it thrived in the 9th – 10th centuries. During this period alchemy developed in two directions. Since the main goal of alchemists was to generate noble metals artificially, some authors attempted to conceal the essence of the narration from “uninitiated” readers with the help of symbolism and metaphors. Some of these treatises were written in verse using a florid style. Examples are ”Miftah al-kunuz fi hall ishkal al-rumuz” (The Key to Treasures in Explaining Unclear Hints) and ”Qasidat al-mimiya” (Qasidah with Mim Rhyme) in Arabic by Abu ‘Abd Allah ibn Umayl al-Tamimi (900 – 960), one of the key representatives of hermetic chemistry, as well as a commentary on this qasida by the author himself. There are also two works in Persian by ‘Abd Allah ibn Jawhari Tabrizi including “Al-Qasida al-hawliya fi al-san’at al-maktuma” (Intricate Qasidat on Secret Art) and a voluminous commentary on this qasida. Both works are found in a unique manuscript of the 17th century, kept only in the al-Biruni Institute.

You can learn more about this topic in the book-album “The Collection of the Al-Biruni Institute of Oriental studies, the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan” (part two, “Miniature and Calligraphy”) (Volume XXII) from the series "Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the World Collections".

The main sponsor of the project is the oilfield services company Eriell-Group.

31 copies of 30 works on alchemy
31 copies of 30 works on alchemy
31 copies of 30 works on alchemy