The page architecture of a deluxe Arabic dictionary from Islamic Spain
Keywords:Islamic manuscripts, Arabic lexicography, Islamic calligraphy, al-Andalus, Valencia, Almoravids
The Mukhtaṣar al-ʿAyn of Abū Bakr Muḥammad al-Zubaydī (d. AD 989) is the earliest Arabic dictionary to have survived from the medieval Islamic West. This article discusses an early manuscript of the work that was copied and illuminated in AD 1124, most likely in Valencia, for the library of a wealthy patron or institution. The manuscript’s colophon casts new light on its transmission history, and a close analysis of its ‘page architecture’ reveals both how the book was used and the symbolic and aesthetic functions it fulfilled.
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