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Title: The Kitab nact al-hayawan (book on the characteristics of animals, BL, Or. 2784) and the #Ibn Bakhtishu'c' illustrated bestiaries.
Author: Contadini, Anna.
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1992
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine an illustrated Medieval Arabic bestiary (British Library Or. 2784), and the so-called Ibn Bakhttshü bestiary tradition to which it belongs. Despite the fact that this bestiary tradition is one of the most important in Medieval Islam--and the richest in illustrated copies--there exists for it not a single edited text or critical translation. Analysis of this tradition from both a textual and iconographical point of view thus fulfills a longstanding need and may logically begin with the earliest manuscript: the Kitab nact al-hayawn. In VOLUME ONE: Chapter One outlines the purpose of the thesis, and discusses the methodology used. The authorship of the manuscript, its commissioner, its sources and text are then examined in Chapter Two and the two main sources, Aristotle and Ibn Bakhtishüc , are discussed in detail. Historical information (translated for the first time from Arabic sources) on the Bakhtishüc family of physicians is presented. The listing and identification of other sources is accompanied by a bibliographical apparatus. Finally, the place of the Nact in the history of zoology is discussed. Chapter Three examines the manuscript itself. It presents a general description of its contents, the paper and pigments used. A description folio by folio follows, with a reconstruction of the history of the manuscript. Relying on both internal syntactic evidence and collation with other manuscripts, a reconstruction of the original order of the folios then follows since the sequence of folios has been drastically altered in subsequent rebindings. Chapter Four describes the other bestiaries of the so called Ibn Bakhtishüc tradition, and discusses and interprets the relationship of the Nact to them. Chapter Five examines the miniatures. Their organization, pictorial and compositional elements are considered. A detailed stylistic and iconographical analysis of those of particular significance for an understanding of the place in history and provenance of the manuscript is provided, together with an analysis of those which present peculiarities in terms of composition and narrative. Chapter Six discusses the date, geographical provenance, and the historical context of the Nact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available