Sunday, January 27, 2013

Islamic Astronomer from the Istanbul Old Book Bazaar

I bought this picture of an Islamic astronomer at the Istanbul book bazaar during our honeymoon in Turkey last summer.  It is a single page out a of a book that must have once contained many such treasures.  Although the text is printed and likely mass-produced (the back side of the page is also completely covered in Arabic text), the image itself is hand-painted.  Some of the smallest lines are so delicate, I think they were painted with strokes from a single hair.  Although it is not obvious in the scanned image, the telescope and the borders are done in a metallic gold paint that reflects light brightly when held at certain angles.  I have since framed it and it now resides in my office, but I felt like it was too beautiful not to share with a wider audience.  My guess is it is perhaps about 150 years old, but I really have no idea of its true age, or what the text says.