An Andalusian mathematician's compendium on arithmetics

Al-Qalasadi, Abu'l Hasan 'Ali ibn Muhammad bin 'Ali al-Qarshi al-Basti. Kashf al-asrar ‘an ilm huruf al-ghubar [Treatise on arithmetics].

Morocco / North Africa, [12 April 1893 CE =] 25 Ramadan 1310 H.

4to (187 x 234 mm). Arabic manuscript on wove paper. 49 ff., 16 lines per extensum within blue and gilt rules. Written in brown maghribi with headings and emphases in gold, blue and red; numerals written in red; one illuminated headpiece in colours and gold. Pretty contemporary brown leather binding with gilt borders and recessed central medallions and corner pieces, stamped in relief and outlined in gold. Green endpapers.


Prettily calligraphed and bound manuscript treatise on mathematics and arithemetics, being a compendium of the author’s larger work entitled "Kashf al-jilbab 'an 'ilm al-hisab", copied in the late 19th century CE in Northern Africa, very likely in Morocco.

The author Abu'l-Hasan ibn Ali al-Qalasadi (1412-86) was a Muslim Arab mathematician from Al-Andalus; Franz Woepcke singled him out as one of the most influential voices in algebraic notation for having taking "the first steps toward the introduction of algebraic symbolism". Al-Qalasadi was born in Baza, an outpost of the Emirate of Granada. He received his education in Granada, but continued to support his family in Baza. He wrote numerous books on arithmetic and algebra, eventually retiring to his native Baza. His algebraic works provided precise mathematical answers to problems of everyday life, such as the composition of medications, how to calculate the inclination of irrigation canals, and the explanation of frauds linked to measuring instruments. Others belonged to the ancient tradition of judicial and cultural mathematics, including a collection of little arithmetical problems presented in the form of verse riddles.

Occasional insignificant foxing and browning; very well preserved.

GAL II, 266 (343), 2.

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