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!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 127 : Antique Ottoman Era Document / Letter dated 1249 AH ( 1833 CE )





This is a document written in old Turkish. The document was originally folded and sealed. I couldn't figure out what type of document this is. It could be a legal document or a personal ones. It is dated 1249 AH ( 1833 CE) and the content written in Riqaah script in black. There is a name written Abdullah Efendi on the top of this document whom I believe is the addressee whereas at the bottom there is a signature of Muhammad Musa whom I believe is the writer of this document.
I don't have much information of this kind of manuscript and its writing tradition. I need to do more research on this manuscript and will update this entry later. I welcome any feedback on this letter.

Manuscript Specs

Item : Ottoman document
Content :  Unknown
Dim : 12" x 8.5"
Date :  1249 AH
Copyist : Muhammad Musa
Origin :  Turkey
Calligraphy : Riqaah
Design :
Purchased Price :US

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Antique Manuscript Review 126 : Antique Indian Sanskrit Manuscript ( 19th Century)





This is a very interesting type of manuscript which I purchased from India. It was written in Devanari script in black & red.
I dont have much information of this kind of manuscript and its writing tradition. I need to do more research on this manuscript and will update this entry later.

Manuscript Specs

Item : Sanskrit Manuscript
Content :  Unknown
Dim : 7" x 5" x 0.5"
Date : 18-19th century
Copyist : anonymous
Origin :  India
Calligraphy : Devanagari
Design : Written in Devamagari scripts in black & red
Purchased Price :US

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 125 : Antique Bali Lontar Manuscript ( 19th Century)




This is a very interesting type of manuscript. The origin of this manuscript is Bali island, Indonesia. The script  was written on  "lontar" leaf.
Lontar leaf derives from the palmyra species of palm, Borassus flabellifer, which is common in Indonesia. In Balinese, the palmyra palm is named "tal" ( deriving from "tala", the sanskrit name for the talipot palm), and this is reflected in the term "lontar", which is an inversion of the word "rontal" meaning "leaf" (ron) of the "tal tree" (tal).
Both sides of lontar leaf provide a writing surface. An iron stylus called a pangutik is used to inscribe the writings on the leaf surface.
I dont have any information about the content of this lontar manuscript but I believe its about the beliefs and ritual laws of Balinese.
Each leaf is 12" in length and 2.5" in width. There are total of 50+ leaves and sandwiched by  2 flat boards called " cakepan". These cakepans are made of bamboo.
( Reference : Illuminations The Writing Traditions of Indonesia)

See my other Lontar manuscripts below :
Bali Lontar 01
Bali Lontar 02
Quran Lontar

Manuscript Specs

Item : Antique Bali Lontar Manuscript
Content : Balinese Ritual
Dim : 12" x  1" x 2.5"
Date : 18-19th century
Copyist : anonymous
Origin : Bali island
Calligraphy : TBA
Design :
 Purchased Price :US

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 124 : Antique Etiopian Ge'ez Coptic Bible Manuscript on Vellum ( 19th Century CE)








This is my another Coptic Bible written on vellum in Ge'ez language. I really dont know how to read this script. But the seller who is coptic herself told me that this is a gospel written in Ge'ez.
There is 1 page with Iconic drawing showing the baptism of Jesus.
Click this link to see my other Coptic Bible
Coptic Bible







This is what I got from Wiki some infos on the origin of this language.

The Ge'ez language is classified as a South Semitic language. It evolved from an earlier proto-Ethio-Semitic ancestor used to write royal inscriptions of the kingdom of Dʿmt in Epigraphic South Arabian. The Ge'ez language is no longer universally thought of, as previously assumed, to be an offshoot of Sabaean or Old South Arabian,[13] and there is some linguistic (though not written) evidence of Semitic languages being spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia since approximately 2000 BC.[14] However, the Ge'ez script later replaced Epigraphic South Arabian in the Kingdom of Aksum (Epigraphic South Arabian letters were used for a few inscriptions into the 8th century, though not any South Arabian language since Dʿmt). Early inscriptions in Ge'ez and Ge'ez script have been dated[15] to as early as the 5th century BC, and in a sort of proto-Ge'ez written in ESA since the 9th century BC. Ge'ez literature properly begins with the Christianization of Ethiopia (and the civilization of Axum) in the 4th century, during the reign of Ezana of Axum.[citation needed]

5th to 7th centuries

The oldest known example of the old Ge'ez script is found on the Hawulti obelisk in Matara, Eritrea. The oldest surviving Ge'ez manuscript is thought to be the 5th or 6th century Garima Gospels.[16][17]
Almost all texts from this early "Aksumite" period are religious (Christian) in nature, many of them translations from Greek, Syriac, Coptic, and later also Arabic. The translation of the Christian Bible was undertaken by Syrian monks known as the Nine Saints, who had come to Ethiopia in the 5th century fleeing the Byzantine persecution of the Monophysites. The Ethiopic Bible contains 81 Books; 46 of the Old Testament and 35 of the New. A number of these Books are called "deuterocanonical" (or "apocryphal" according to certain Western theologians), such as the Ascension of Isaiah, Jubilees, Enoch, the Paralipomena of Baruch, Noah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Maccabees, Moses and Tobit. The Book of Enoch in particular is notable since its complete text has survived in no other language.
Also to this early period dates Qerlos, a collection of Christological writings beginning with the treatise of Saint Cyril known as Hamanot Rete’et, or De Recta Fide, the theological foundation of the Ethiopic Church. Another work is Ser'ata Paknemis, a translation of the monastic Rules of Pachomius. Non-religious works translated in this period include Physiologus, a work of natural history also very popular in Europe.[18]

13th to 14th centuries

After the decline of the Aksumites, a lengthy gap follows; no works have survived that can be dated to the years of the 8th through 12th centuries. Only with the rise of the Solomonic dynasty around 1270 can we find evidence of authors committing their works to writings. Some writers consider the period beginning from the 14th century an actual "Golden Age" of Ge'ez literature—although by this time Ge'ez was no longer a living language. While there is ample evidence that it had been replaced by the Amharic language in the south and by the Tigrigna and Tigre languages in the north, Ge'ez remained in use as the official written language until the 19th century, its status comparable to that of Medieval Latin in Europe.
Important hagiographies from this period include:
Also at this time the Apostolic Constitutions was translated in Ge'ez, which provided another set of instructions and laws for the Ethiopian Church. Another translation from this period is Zena 'Ayhud, a translation (probably from an Arabic translation) of Joseph ben Gurion's "History of the Jews" ("Sefer Josippon") written in Hebrew in the 10th century, which covers the period from the Captivity to the capture of Jerusalem by Titus.
Apart from theological works, the earliest contemporary Royal Chronicles of Ethiopia are date to the reign of Amda Seyon I (1314–44). With the appearance of the "Victory Songs" of Amda Seyon, this period also marks the beginning of Amharic literature.
The 14th century Kebra Nagast or "Glory of the Kings" by the Nebura’ed Yeshaq of Aksum is among the most significant works of Ethiopian literature, combining history, allegory and symbolism in a retelling of the story of the Queen of Sheba (i.e. Saba), King Solomon, and their son Menelik I of Ethiopia. Another work that began to take shape in this period is the Mashafa Aksum or "Book of Axum".[19]

15th to 16th centuries

The early 15th century Fekkare Iyasus "The Explication of Jesus" contains a prophecy of a king called Tewodros, which rose to importance in 19th century Ethiopia as Tewodros II chose this throne name.
Literature flourished especially during the reign of Emperor Zara Yaqob. Written by the Emperor himself were Mats'hafe Berhan ("The Book of Light") and Mats'hafe Milad ("The Book of Nativity"). Numerous homilies were written in this period, notably Retu’a Haimanot ("True Orthodoxy") ascribed to John Chrysostom. Also of monumental importance was the appearance of the Ge'ez translation of the Fetha Negest ("Laws of the Kings"), thought to have been around 1450, and ascribed to one Petros Abda Sayd — that was later to function as the supreme Law for Ethiopia, until it was replaced by a modern Constitution in 1931.
By the beginning of the 16th century, the Islamic invasions put an end to the flourishing of Ethiopian literature. A letter of Abba 'Enbaqom (or "Habakkuk") to Imam Ahmad Ibn Ibrahim, entitled Anqasa Amin ("Gate of the Faith"), giving his reasons for abandoning Islam, although probably first written in Arabic and later rewritten in an expanded Ge'ez version around 1532, is considered one of the classics of later Ge'ez literature.[20] During this period, Ethiopian writers begin to address differences between the Ethiopian and the Roman Catholic Church in such works as the Confession of Emperor Gelawdewos, Sawana Nafs ("Refuge of the Soul"), Fekkare Malakot ("Exposition of the Godhead") and Haymanote Abaw ("Faith of the Fathers"). Around the year 1600, a number of works were translated from Arabic into Ge'ez for the first time, including the Chronicle of John of Nikiu and the Universal History of Jirjis ibn al'Amid Abi'l-Wasir (also known as al-Makin).

Current usage in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Israel

Ge'ez is the liturgical language of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and Eritrean Orthodox Christians, and is used in prayer and in scheduled public celebrations. It is also used liturgically by the Beta Israel (Falasha Jews).


Codicology


Title Page : Nil
Content    : Coptic Gospel
Date         : 19th Century CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Etiopia
Place acquired : Etiopia
Illuminations :1 page - Jesus baptized by John The Baptist
Calligraphy :Ge'ez script
Number of lines :15 lines per page in 2 columns
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 : 96 ff
Support of writing : light yellowish vellum
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :Nil
Dimensions : 14.0 cm x 10.0 cm
Binding   :Brown wooden covers
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 123 : Antique Aramaic Syriac Garshuni Christian Manuscript ( 17th Century CE)





This is a very rare Syriac manuscript acquired from Turkey. It is written in Syriac Serto script.  .


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


Codicology
Title Page :Unknown
Content    :  Christian content
Date         : 17th CE
Copyist    : Anonymous
Patron      : Nil
Origin      : Diyerbakir, Turkey
Place acquired : Istanbul
Illuminations : Nil
Calligraphy : Syriac Serto
Number of lines :26 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 : 96 ff
Support of writing : yellowish laid paper
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :bottom left on recto page
Dimensions : 22.0 cm x 16.0 cm
Binding   : Leather covers
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ancient Artifact Review 18 : Antique Persian Lacquered Book Cover (18th Century)



 
This is a priceless antique Persian lacquer panel decorated with scene in the palace. This is only 1 part of the book cover. The miniature depicting a couple were sitting and probably were chatting whereas there were 2 men in the background were sitting and probably were playing. Apparently they were pointing fingers to each other and I cant be sure what sort of games they were playing. Or probably they were arguing to each other. 
The couple probably Yousuf & Zulaikah. The gentleman is wearing green tunic whereas the lady is wearing a red tunic. The 2 men in the background are wearing brown tunic. All of them with yellow headresses.
The trees and even the flowers are intricately and beautifully painted. All of this is enclosed within a fantastic border that is typically Persian in style.
This type of painting was often found on Persian miniatures in the 1600s and 1700s. The detail on the faces, the clothing and the intricate detail on the borders are typical of the earlier miniatures.
On the back side of this book cover there is a flower motives in the middle clearly representating Persian origin.
Dimension : 270mm x 180mm


Dim : 27.0cm x 18.0cm
Date : 18th Century CE
Material : Paper Mache with lacquered
Origin : Iran/Iraq

Ancient Manuscript Review 122 : Antique Etiopia Quran Set Box ( 18-19th Century)



This a leather box which contains supposedly 30 manuscripts ( 30 juzs) for the complete Quran. The leather is thick and hard and the edges were sewn with thick leather thread .The details of  the manuscript can be found in this link
This is a very rare acquisition because we dont see many Etiopian Quran especially with its box in the market or in international hands.  
In a recent auction at Sotheby's a similar Quran was sold for USD56,000 in April 2015. See below the link:
Sotheby Auction - Etiopia Quran

Manuscript Specs

Item : Antique Etiopia Quran Box
Box Content : 21 manuscripts of Quran
Dim : 51 cm x 21 cm x 14 cm
Date : 18-19th century
Origin : Etiopia
Purchased Price :US
Market Price : GBP20,000 -GBP30,000  ( similar one sold GBP37,500 at Sotheby's)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ancient Manuscript Review 121 : Antique Aramaic Syriac Garshuni Christian Manuscript (12th CE)








This is a very rare Syriac manuscript on Tali ElMevlud Ve Nasayih Diniye 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. .

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


Codicology
Title Page : Tali El Mevlud ve Nasayih Diniye
Content    :  Christian content
Date         : 12th 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 : 120 ff
Support of writing : yellowish laid paper
Gatherings : N/A
Catchwords :bottom left on recto page
Dimensions : 19.0 cm x 15.0 cm
Binding   : Hard covers bound with fabric
Estimated Market Price :
Purchased Price : USD
Remarks :

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 :