Astronomy at the Samarkand observatory

Jaghmini al-Khwarizmi, Mahmud bin Muhammad bin Omar al- / Qadizade al-Rumi, Musa ibn Muhammad. Al-Mulakhkhas fi 'Ilm al-Hay’a [A commentary on the Summary of Astronomy].

Gaza, Ottoman Palestine, [1862/63 CE =] 1279 H.

Folio (168 x 220 mm). 110 ff. Arabic manuscript on paper. Black naskh script, 17 lines ruled in red, some phrases underlined in red, and illustrated with numerous diagrams in red and black. Contemporary leather-backed marbled boards with flap.


A commentary by Qadizade al-Rumi on Al-Jaghmini's famous astronomical treatise "Mulakhas" ("Summary on the Science of the Authority"), completed in AH 808. Al-Rumi (1364-1436), known under the name of Salah al-Din Musa Pasha, was one of the principal astronomers at the famous Samarkand observatory. The present treatise is dedicated to his ruler and patron Ulugh Beg (d. 1449 CE) and illustrated with numerous astronomical and mathematical diagrams.

Colophon signed by the scribe as Muhammad Al-Tan…(?) Al-Azhari. One extra diagram has been inserted via an errata slip, and many others decorate the generous margins; a few take up nearly an entire page. They show astronomical phenomena such as lunar and solar eclipses, the orbit of Mercury (long a focus for astronomy, as it is both the fastest and the most elliptical of the inner planets), and the movement of the Sun.

Light wear, quite well preserved. Provenance: from the collection of the botanist Dr. Eugene L. Vigil (b. 1941), of Lynden, Washington, USA.