Medical recipes

A shortage of paper in India meant that cloth was often used as a writing material. The document was written by the trader Abraham Ibn Yiju. Here he copies a medical recipe that includes a wide variety of exotic ingredients from India, Persia and elsewhere. Abraham lived for 17 years in India. Soon after he arrived he got married, but by an unusual route: he bought a slave called Ashu and freed her, so that, in accordance with Jewish law, she became a Jew and he could then marry her. When Abraham returned to Cairo he brought back two decades’ worth of correspondence and business accounts.

Mangalore, India, 12th century

Arabic, cloth

T-S Ar.41.81