From the first printing press in the Arab world

Estève, Martin-Roch-Xavier. Règlement du payeur général [de l'armée d'Orient] sur les fabriques d'eau-de-vie.

Cairo, Imprimerie nationale, [ca. 1800].

Folio (325 x 465 mm). Broadsheet. Printed in French and Arabic in two columns.


Only known copy of this broadside intended for wall-mounting, printed by the first printing press in the Arab world. Issued by the paymaster of Napoleon's Armée de l'Orient, Martin-Roch-Xavier Estève (1772-1852), it is a proclaimation of six articles regulating the production of liquor, mosty from dates, in Cairo, Giza, and Boulaq (now a district of Cairo), including tariffs on the raw materials and final product, a maximum price, and corresponding fines. Distilleries needed to be registered and marked in capital letters as "Fabrique d'eau de vie" within a fixed period following the proclamation. Inspectors were supposed to make "frequent inspections", checking, among other things, that the produced liquor had at least 18 per cent by volume and that it be "of good quality and without any kind of adulteration detrimental to health". The raw materials enumerated in the proclamation include five qualities of fresh dates, dried dates, figs, and raisins.

Small waterstain in the lower edge, traces of folds, otherwise well preserved. No copy in the Bibliotheque nationale de France, not recorded in OCLC. The only known documentation for this highly interesting broadside is the sales catalogue for the library of the famous orientalist Antoine Isaac Silvestre de Sacy.

Bibliothèque de M. le baron Silvestre de Sacy, Vol. III, Paris, 1847, p. 461, no. 50. Cf. D. Glass/G. Roper, The Printing of Arabic Books in the Arab World, in: Middle Eastern Languages and the Print Revolution (Gutenberg Museum Mainz 2002), p. 177-225, at 182.

Art.-Nr.: BN#58768 Schlagwörter: , , , ,