Marvels of creation

Zakarīyā ibn Muḥammad al-Qazwīnī (ca 1203–1283)
ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharāʼib al-mawjūdāt (The marvels of creation and the oddities of existence)
MS Nn.3.74

In 1770 George Lewis’s son presented this magnificent illuminated manuscript of the Persian version of al-Qazwīnī’s Marvels of creation (also known as The wonders of creation). It was placed in the cabinet in the Dome Room alongside the manuscripts that his father had given in 1727; some Chinese manuscripts presented by the Sussex antiquary William Burrell were also added in 1772. An 1812 guidebook describes how ‘The leaves of this elegant manuscript are of cotton paper, embellished with drawings of beasts, birds, reptiles, &c. many of which are finely executed, and the colouring is uncommonly brilliant; the paintings are ornamented with gold intermixed with the most beautiful colours, and the volume is enveloped in a remarkably superb binding.—This book cost in Persia £100.’

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