Miniature from a copy of Kitab al-hashaish, an Arabic translation of Dioscorides’s De Materia Medica.
“A Ferry Crossing the Gagos River”
Iraq, Baghdad?; 1224
Leaf: 32.2 × 24 cm
Like another miniature, which shows a doctor’s office (4/1997), this is one of the both unnecessary and revolutionary illustrations in Abdallah ibn al-Fadl’s copy of Dioscorides’s medical treatise.
The text states that on the shores of the Gagos River, jet can be found that is effective against pain in the uterus, but the artist took the opportunity to depict an entire ferry with a helmsman, two rowers, and eight passengers, each looking out of a porthole. Despite the awkward rendition of the river landscape, the miniature is colorful and filled with finely observed and beautifully executed details.
Inv. no. 5/1997
F. R. Martin: The miniature painting and painters of Persia, India and Turkey from the 8th to the 18th century, London 1912 (repr. 1968), tav. 5a;
Hugo Buchthal: “Early Islamic miniatures from Baghdâd” in The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, 1942:5, p. 29, fig. 22;
Ernst J. Grube: ”Materialien zum Dioskurides Arabicus” in Richard Ettinghausens (ed.): Aus der Welt der islamischen Kunst : Festschrift für Ernst Kühnel zum 75. Geburtstag am 26.10.1957, Berlin 1959, p. 177, VI:22;
The arts of Islam : Hayward gallery, 8 April - 4 July 1976, London 1976, cat.no. 520;
Kjeld von Folsach: Art from the World of Islam in The David Collection, Copenhagen 2001, cat.no. 22;
Kjeld von Folsach: For the Privileged Few: Islamic Miniature Painting from The David Collection, Louisiana, Humlebæk 2007, cat.no. 4;
Andrea Gropp, Werner Pöhling (ed.): Häuser der Weisheit: Wissenschaft im goldenen Zeitalter des Islam, Kultur- und Stadthistorisches Museum Duisburg, Mainz am Rhein 2015, fig. 9, p. 13;
Kjeld von Folsach, Joachim Meyer: The Human Figure in Islamic Art – Holy Men, Princes, and Commoners, The David Collection, Copenhagen 2017, cat.no. 22;