A journey to search my soul

This is a blog of my personal collections. The purpose of this blog is to educate myself and public in regards to antiquities especially related to religion and calligraphy. I welcome everyone to input their feedback in this blog which they think would be helpful. I do not watermark the photos in this blog so everyone is free to use them as long as they are not used for illegal and unethical reasons. I appreciate if you could notify me if you plan to use any of the photos here. Enjoy browsing!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review 12 : Jaarboek Voor Munt En Penningkunde : Gold Coins of Samudra Pasai and Aceh : Their Origin, name and weight in a historical context





Book Info :

Title : Jaarboek Voor Munt En Penningkunde
Other Title :  Gold Coins of Samudra Pasai and Aceh : Their Origin, name and weight in a historical context
Author : Koninklijk Nederlands Genootschap Voor Munt-en Penningkunde
Publisher :  Amsterdam : Koninklijk Nederlands Genootschap Voor Munt-en Penningkunde
Printer :
Pages : 226 pages
ISBN : 0920-380-X
 


 
Book Review :

This is so far the best and the most comprehensive catalog on coins from Pasai Samudra & Aceh empires. This is the frist place I will go to get info on these empires coins. It has quite detailed explanation ont eh history of the empires & the rulers as well as detailed information on their coins.
An Amazing book.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 120 : Antique Hijazi Quran on vellum / parchment ( 8th Century CE)


This is Quranic verses written in Hijazi script on a brownish vellum. Acquired from an acquaintance in Paris. The vellum originally belonged to a Professor of Islamic Art. I couldn't verify the exact date of this vellum however based on the script ( Hijazi), I would estimate it around 8th -9th century CE.
This leaf contains Surah Al Araaf ( chapter 7) from verse 22 till verse 25.

Similar leaf is on display in London Central Mosque Gallery. The leaf is believed from the same source containing the same chapter but from verse 19 till 22. The website is as below :
ExhibitionIslamUK
Quran Leaf

From my research, I discovered that a similar leaf was sold in Ebay in 2007 for USD1000. See below for the link
Hijazi vellum on Ebay 
See my other Hijazi Quranic parchment on this link

Codicology
Title Page : Nil
Content    : Quranic Verses. Chapter 7 ( Surah Al Araf) verse 22-25
Date         : 8th Century CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Middle East
Place acquired : Paris
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy : Hijazi
Number of lines :5 lines per page
Inks          : Black
Punctuation: 6 black dots
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript : Originally belonged to a Professor of Islamic Art in Paris. His family sold some of these vellum to a friend. I acquired this vellum from him in 2013.
Number of folios : 1 f
Support of writing : Brownish vellum
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :Nil
Dimensions : 18.0 cm x 14.0 cm
Binding   : Nil
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks : The vellum is a bit glossy as if a protective layer has been applied to the surface. The ink is black but some places where the ink faded leaving red stains The vellum is a bit hard & thick.

Ancient Artifact Review 17 : Antique Chinese Red Lacquer Vellum & Paper Mache Box ( Ching Dynasty 19th CE)



This is an antique box from Ching Dynasty from China. This could be a jewelery box as it is fitted with a brass hasp ( the staple is missing except the hinged metal strap). The box was made of paper mache and covered with leather and lacquered in red. Nice decorative brass motives were tooled on this box.
Purchased from Ebay.

Dim : 29.5cm x 18cm x 14.5 cm
Date : 19th Century CE ( Ching Dynasty)
Material : Paper Mache with red lacquered vellum
Origin :  China

Ancient Coin Review 63 : Sultan Alaadin Johan Shah ( Sultanate Aceh 1735 -1760CE)


This is a gold coin from Sultan Aladin Johan Shah era. He was the oldest son of Sultan Aladin Ahmad Shah and reigned Aceh from 1735 - 1760 CE. His original name was Potjut Auk.




Aceh is a state located at the northern end of Sumatra island ( Indonesia). It is also known by its Arabic honorific Darus Salam ( Abode of Peace) from 1511-1959 CE.
Aceh's origins are unquestionably Cham, as the Champa king Syah Pau Kubah sent his son Syah Pau Ling to rule over Aceh when the capital Vijaya in 1471 AD, was sacked by the Vietnamese Le Dynasty.
The Sultanate of Aceh was founded in 1511 CE after the fall of Pasai Sultanate by Sultan Ali Mughayat Shah. It’s presumed that he is the same person as Syah Pau Ling who converted to Islam.
The Sultanate lasted till 1903 when the last Aceh Sultan Muhammad III Daud Shah Johan Berdaulat surrendered to Dutch occupation.

Obv: Sri Sultan Aladin
Rev: Shah Johan Shah Berdaulat
Weight : 0.58 gm
Dim : 14mm
Date : 1735 - 1760 CE
Rarity :
Denom : Mas
Material : AV , Gold
Reference : A 27 pg 182 ( Jaarboek Voor Munt-en Penningkunde)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 119 : Antique Indonesian Lontar Quran Manuscript (20th Century)





This is a very interesting Quran manuscript from Indonesia. These Quranic verses were written on Lontar i.e a leaf derives from the palmyra species of palm, Borassus flabellifer, which is common in Indonesia. An iron stylus called a pangutik is used to inscribe the writings on the leaf surface.
The inscription of Quranic on Lontar is rare because by tradition only kawi script was written.
There are about 7 Quranic chapters in this manuscript. Total 35 palm leaves and binded by thick thread and stored in a mahogany box.
According to the person who sold me this manuscript, this lontar came from Aceh and its estimated from 18-19th century.
However when I received this manuscript, I doubt that its really that old. The lontar leaves are pale yellow and quite in good condition.I estimated this manuscript must have been made within 50 years.
My other lontar manuscripts which are more than 100 years of age have darker color and the condition of the leaves is quite fragile. See below links for comparison:
Bali Lontar Manuscript 1
Bali Lontar Manuscript 2

Codicology


Title Page : Nil
Content    : 7 Surahs of Quran
Date         :  20th Century CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Aceh , Indonesia
Place acquired : Pekanbaru, Indonesia
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy : Ghubari
Number of lines :3 lines perleaf
Inks          : Main text inscribed in black
Punctuation: Diacritical marks in black
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript :
Number of folios : 35leaves
Support of writing : pale yellowish Lontar leaf
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :Nil
Dimensions : 105 cm x 37 cm
Binding   : Covers are from wood
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :Manuscript is stored inside a mahogany box

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 118 : Antique Aramaic Syriac Estrangela Christian Manuscript Pastedown




This is an unexpected and rare finding. I first spotted this leaf pasted in the inner cover of a Syriac manuscript. The script was so peculiar and totally different than the script written in the manuscript. After doing some research and googling, this script is called Estrangela. It was much earlier and older script compared to Serto script which is used in the manuscript itself.. The pastedown could be taken from an older manuscript and could be earlier than 10th century.

I welcome anyone who has any knowledge of this script & manuscript to shed some lights.

Codicology

Title Page : Nil
Content    : Unknown
Date         : 6th-10th Century CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Diyerbakir, Turkey
Place acquired : Istanbul
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy : Syriac Estrangela
Number of lines :14 lines per page
Inks          : Main text in black with some words in red
Punctuation: Diacritical marks in black
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript : It was originally a pastedown of inner cover of a Syriac gospel manuscript
Number of folios : 1 f
Support of writing : light yellowish vellum
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :Nil
Dimensions : 15.5 cm x 22.0 cm
Binding   : Nil
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :

Ancient Manuscript Review 117 : Antique Etiopian Coptic Bible Manuscript ( 18th Century CE)






This is my first Coptic Bible acquisition. I really dont know how to read coptic. But the seller who is coptic herself told me that this is a gospel written in coptic.
This manuscript is written in Ge'ez on vellum

Codicology

Title Page : Nil
Content    : Christian Gospel
Date         : 18th Century CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Etiopia
Place acquired : Etiopia
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy :Ge'ez
Number of lines :16 lines per page
Inks          : Main text in black. Some key words in red.
Punctuation: Diacritical marks in black
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript : Purchased from a contact in Etiopia
Number of folios : 52 ff
Support of writing : light yellowish vellum
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :Nil
Dimensions : 13.5 cm x 10.0 cm
Binding   :Dark brown wooden covers
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 116 : Antique Etiopia Illuminated Quran ( 19th Century CE)







This is another Etiopian Quran in my library. Covered with leather and Geometrical colorful design on the first page.
Surah Al Fatihah & the first page of Surah Al Baqarah are decorated with local motives yet I dont understand why on next pages the same surahs were written without the decorations.
The last page was written by another copyist apparently a replacement page. The page seemed old as well.
This is a very rare acquisition because we dont see many Etiopian Quran in the market or in international hands. I am blessed to have acquired this beautiful manuscript.
Look my other Etiopian Qurans as below links:
Etiopian Quran Comparison
Etiopia Minhajul Muslimin

Codicology
Title Page : Nil
Content    :A Complete Quran
Date         : 19th Century
Copyist    : N/A
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Harrar Etiopia
Place acquired : Etiopia
Illuminations : First 3 pages with colorful illuminations.
Calligraphy : Naskh
Number of lines :15
Inks          : Main text in black with diacritical marks in red
Punctuation: red circle with black dot in middle to separate between verses.
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript :
Number of folios : 330 ff
Support of writing : Western paper
Gatherings :
Catchwords :first word on subsequent page in bottom left of recto
Dimensions : 21.0 cm x 17.0 cm
Binding   :Brown leather
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 115 : Antique Hijazi / Kufic Quran on Vellum - 9th CE


This is a single folio of Quran written in late Hijazi script on vellum. I purchased this vellum from a reputable auction house in USA. COA that comes with this vellum describing it as Arabic Hijazi Quran Vellum c. 8th-9th Century CE.
There was an auction from Sotheby's selling some follios with quite similar scripts which were described as late Hijazi script. The item as in below link :
Sotheyby's Late Hijazi Quran

However Prof Deroche described this script as B-II i.e " Early Abbasid Scripts". In reference to " Islamic Codicology", this script is datable to 9th Century CE.
Regardless various terminologies used by expert to describe this script, one thing for sure this script is a transition from the earliest Arabic script i.e Hijazi script to a more constructed Kufic script.
From Christie's website, similar leaves were sold on Sale 5331, Lot 136. I believe this leaf came from the same Mushaf. See the link :





Codicology
Title Page : Nil
Content    : Quranic Verses
Date         : 9th CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Near East
Place acquired : USA
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy :Kufic ( Early Abbasid )
Number of lines :18 lines per page
Inks          : Main text in black
Punctuation: Diacritical marks in black.
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript : Bought from Artemission.
Number of folios : 1 f
Support of writing : light brownish vellum
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :Nil
Dimensions : 18.5 cm x 13.0 cm
Binding   : Nil
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks : 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 114 : Antique Aramaic Syriac Garshuni Christian Manuscript 1132 C.E








This is a very rare Syriac manuscript on Rikin Al Kiddas ( Holy Power) acquired from Turkey. It is written in Syriac Serto script. This manuscript I believe is dated but I could not read the script nor understand it. However there is a note written in Arabic "sanah 132" means year 132.  Hence I believe this manuscript is dated 1132 CE.
There is also a note written in Arabic that this manuscript was purchased by Abraham Ben Jacob.
I welcome anyone who has any knowledge of this script & manuscript to shed some lights.

Codicology

Title Page : Rikin Al Kiddas ( Holy Power)
Content    :  Rikin Al Kiddas
Date         : 1132 CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Diyerbakir, Turkey
Place acquired : Istanbul
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy : Syriac Serto
Number of lines :15 lines per page
Inks          : Main text in black with some headings in red
Punctuation: Diacritical marks in black
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript : from a private library in Diyerbakir
Number of folios : 117 ff
Support of writing : yellowish laid paper
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :bottom left on recto page
Dimensions : 17.0 cm x 11.5 cm
Binding   : Hard covers bound with fabric
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :

Ancient Manuscript Review 113 : Antique Aramaic Syriac Garshuni Christian Manuscript 1147 C.E
















This is a very rare Syriac manuscript on Mazamir Davut ( Psalms of David) acquired from Turkey. It is written in Syriac Serto script and some pages were replaced and written in Arabic. Some margin notes are also written in Arabic. This manuscript I believe is dated but I could not read the script nor understand it. However there is a note written in Arabic "sanah 147" means year 147.  Hence I believe this manuscript is dated 1147 CE.
About 6 pages in this manuscript has its title illuminated in various colors. I noticed also some pages have simple illumination around the page number at the bottom of the page.

I welcome anyone who has any knowledge of this script & manuscript to shed some lights.








Codicology

Title Page : Mazamir Davut ( Psalms of David)
Content    :  Psalms of David
Date         : 12th Century CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Diyerbakir, Turkey
Place acquired : Istanbul
Illuminations : 6 pages
Calligraphy : Syriac Serto
Number of lines :17 lines in 2 columns per page
Inks          : Main text in black with some headings in red
Punctuation: Diacritical marks in black& red
Frame       :  Nil
History of Manuscript : from a private library in Diyerbakir
Number of folios : 124 ff
Support of writing : yellowish laid paper
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :bottom left on recto page
Dimensions : 20.5 cm x 15.5 cm
Binding   : Hard covers
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :