A 13th century Mamluk (Egyptian or Syrian) manuscript on astronomy, £140,000 at Roseberys.

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Signed to the opening colophon for one Ahmed ibn Eldegüz ibn ‘Abd Allah and dated Jumada II 697AH (for March-April 1298AD), its importance lies in the text rather than the low-key decoration.

The 80 folios of black naskh script are a study of the constellations of which only one other (later) copy is known in the British Museum.

Elements of the text are thought to be based on The Book of Fixed Stars, the influential 10th century work that combined the findings of Ptolemy with Arabian and Persian learning.

Poor condition

In outwardly poor condition (disbound and water damaged), this manuscript measuring 6 x 5in (16 x 13cm) came for sale as part of Roseberys’ Antiquities, Islamic and Indian Arts auction with a guide of £600-800 from a collection formed during the 1960s-70s.

Bought by a UK-based private collector, it will doubtless be the subject of future research.