The most ancient monument of book art of Central Asia

In Mawarannahr during the reign of Abu Sa‘id, in the month of Safar 862 / December 1457 – January 1458, ‘Abd Allah al-Haravi finished the copying of the collection of Arabic aphorisms attributed to caliph ‘Ali (“Scattering of Pearls from the Aphorisms of ‘Ali, Commander of the Faithful”), which is the earliest fine book from Central Asia stored in the National Library of Russia.

The name of the master of outlining and ruling of the golden frames (muharrir), ‘Abd al-Vasi‘, with whom the calligrapher worked many times, is also indicated. The book on 13 sheets, 30 × 21 cm, exquisitely designed, is made under the obvious influence of the “Mamluk style”. In the middle of the 14–15th century books of this style were made for the sultans of the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt and Syria, their relatives and high-ranking officials. The decoration of such books is strictly geometrical, with an abundance of gold and blue colors and an exquisite large handwriting (often muhaqqaq); great importance is attached to the quality of paper and embossed leather bindings.

You can learn more about the topic in the book-album "Arts of the book in the 15th–17th-century Mawarannahr" (Volume XVII) in the series "Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the World Collections". 

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

The most ancient monument of book art of Central Asia