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Abstract

By the late nineteenth century, when printing press was popular across the world. In South Asia, there was increased production and dissemination of Tamil and Malayalam vernacular materials in Arabic script. This intermarriage of local languages with a cosmopolitan script was part of a larger trend of the time, and in South India those were advanced by Arabic-Malayalam and Arabic-Tamil literatures (also referred as Malabari and Arwī respectively). Hundreds of texts printed annually at the prime centres of Islamic printing on both Malabar and Coromandel coasts were circulated among mobile and immobile communities of the region across the Indian Ocean, Pacific and Atlantic littorals. The reach and impact of such vernacular printings are yet to be explored thoroughly, for these materials have been spread across several formal and informal collections and there has not been any systematic attempt to identify or catalogue them. In this article, I focus on uncatalogued Arabic-Malayalam materials at the British Library London on which I have been working on in the last few years. These materials from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries help us understand the history of the region, religion and printing. After a brief historical overview, I focus on some major features, themes, trends, places, and people in about 150 texts I consulted, and which I discuss in relation to broader histories of Arabic-Malayalam tradition.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Islam in Asia

Abstract

This article explores a little-known prognostic table, the so-called Tabula Salomonis, in its four oldest Latin manuscript witnesses from between ca. 1000 and 1300. Unusually for Latin prognostic texts, the table employs unexpected incidents such as animal sounds, sneezes, and bodily twitches combined with the signs of the zodiac as its starting point. Interestingly, the sources for the Tabula, a series of Late Antique texts from which the author “picked and mixed,” are not extant in Latin. Given a parallel tradition in Arabic, the authors argue that the Tabula’s direct precursor is not a Greek text (as is the case for many contemporary prognostic texts in Latin), but an Arabic work. This would make it the earliest attested prognostic text translated directly from Arabic into Latin.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Divination and Prognostication
Islamic art is often misrepresented as an iconophobic tradition. As a result of this assumption, the polyvalence of figural artworks made for South Asian Muslim audiences has remained hidden in plain view.
This book situates manuscript illustrations and album paintings within cultures of devotion and ritual shaped by Islamic intellectual and religious histories. Central to this story are the Mughal siblings, Jahanara Begum and Dara Shikoh, and their Sufi guide Mulla Shah.
Through detailed art historical analysis supported by new translations, this study contextualizes artworks made for Indo-Muslim patrons by putting them into direct dialogue with written testimonies.
In: Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting, 1500–1800
In: Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting, 1500–1800
In: Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting, 1500–1800
In: Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting, 1500–1800
In: Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting, 1500–1800
In: Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting, 1500–1800
In: Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting, 1500–1800