I just found this wonderful post about the “Book of Wonders” from the University of St Andrews. I love book illustrations – especially about scary monsters! Imagine what treasures are hoarded in all those libraries that no one sees. I shall play with these illustrations!
‘Island of Tin, plagued by dragons,’ from 17th or 18th century manuscript copy of “The Book of Wonders of the Age” (St Andrews ms32(o))
We have always referred to this manuscript (St Andrews ms32(o)) as the ‘book of wonders’ and indeed wondered what it was all about as it is lavishly and confusingly illustrated, packed with mysterious monsters and people doing strange things, but as it is written in Persian we could never be certain what it was all about. Now I have had the help of an Iranian student, Fatemeh Salimi, to try to make sense of it. While an Islamic art historian could tell a lot more about the images that I can, the illustrations are so fabulous that they are worth reproducing here even if I haven’t got their interpretation quite right.
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