Chapter 8 Ordinary Inks and Incredible Tricks in al-ʿIrāqī’s ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq

In: Traces of Ink
Lucia Raggetti
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The Kitāb ʿuyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq wa-īḍāḥ al-ṭarāʾiq (‘The best of true facts and the explanation of their ways’) was composed in the 13th century by Abū al-Qāsim al-ʿIrāqī, best known for his alchemical works. This peculiar handbook counts 30 chapters and includes many different streams of tradition: pseudo-Platonic magic, medicine, pharmacology, sleight of hand, and crafts. This chapter focuses on the recipes for coloured metallic inks and invisible ones (chapters 18 and 23) and provides an edition and a commented English translation of these sections. The kind of edition proposed here — a ‘laboratory-edition’ — is devised as a specific tool for interdisciplinary research on premodern science and technology and as preparatory work for the replication of these recipes.

1 The Author, the Text and Its Transmission

The 13th-century alchemist Abū al-Qāsim al-ʿIrāqī (7th/13th century)* — also known as al-Sīmāwī (‘the practitioner of natural magic’) — composed a peculiar collection of 30 chapters, entitled Kitāb ʿuyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq wa-īḍāḥ al-ṭarāʾiq (‘The best of true facts and the explanation of their ways’), dealing with all sorts of tricks, deceptions, wonders, and the specialists in these fields.1 Different scholars have pointed out the role of this text in the history of magic and its importance as an indirect witness to the pseudo-Platonic Kitāb al-nawāmīs (‘Book of natural laws,’ the Liber Anegueminis in the Western tradition).2 The magical components also include the preparation of talismans and the invocation of spiritual entities. Magic, however, is only one of the streams of tradition that converge in the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq.

This work also includes a technical component often expressed in the explanation of many illusionistic tricks and in the instructions for different preparations. Some materials are connected to specific groups of specialized tricksters and have a parallel attestation in al-Ǧawbarī’s Kitāb al-muḫtār fī kašf al-asrār (‘Anthology on the unveiling of secrets’), a 13th-century handbook that unveils the tricks of street frauds.3 In the Kašf al-asrār, the dupes are arranged on the basis of the different professional groups (alchemists, pharmacists, food merchants) who perpetrate them. In the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq, however, this approach is limited to a few chapters and many other examples of technical expertise are detached from a specific professional context. They are presented rather as amusing technical tricks of dexterity (from magic boxes to bent swords to simulate stabbing). Another stream of technical traditions is represented by the medical components, dealing with simple drugs, occult properties of natural objects and the constitution of man. The result of this complex merging of sources is a handbook that exists in the intersection between natural magic, technical knowledge, and sleight of hand.

The author added a brief introduction to the text, in which he declares the reasons that brought him to the composition of the book and a general recapitulation of its contents. The last remark of the introduction seems to refer to an encoding of the text carried out by the author himself, although the terminology usually refers to writing and calligraphic styles.4

Abū al-Qāsim ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad known as al-ʿIrāqī said: “When I saw that the stratagems of the greater part of the natural things had been made manifest among many groups of tricksters, but they could not achieve anything from the true facts without any claim or science, I decided to write this book and to entitle it ‘The best of true facts and the explanation of their ways’.

It deals with some of the stratagems (ḥiyal) from the nawāmīs (lit., ‘[natural] laws’), incendiary preparations (maḥārīq), fumigations (al- daḫan), fermentations (al-taʿāfīn), soporifics (al-marāqid), astrological incantations (al-nārinǧāt), concealments (al-aḫfāʾ), illusionistic tricks (al-dakk), stratagems (al-ḥīla), the occult properties of stones, minerals, plant and animals (ḥawāṣṣ al-maʿdan wa-l-nabāt wa-l-ḥayawān), and the natural composition of man (tarkīb al-insān) and what is specific for it at every moment.

So, I divided it into 30 chapters, each dealing with a witty artifice for the one who wishes to understand its explanation and meaning, and among these there are also the secrets that should not be unveiled. We noted it down in rayḥānī [writing] style ⟨and adorned it in ʿIrāqī [writing] style, MS Princeton Garrett 544H⟩ so that only the competent one can access to them”.

The introduction is followed by a list of the 30 chapters and their respective titles with a summary of their contents.5

Eight different witnesses to the text were collected for this study — seven manuscripts and a lithographic edition — and represent the basis for the critical work on the text. An introduction by the author is attested in all the witnesses and is regularly followed by a list of the 30 chapter headings. Some of them make use of a secret alphabet to encode key technical information (for instance, the name of an ingredient or its precise quantity) and in two of them one can even find a legenda to interpret these signs. Curiously, in the two copies that sport a legenda, the secret alphabet is not specifically used to encode significant bits of the text.

1.1 (P) MS Princeton Garrett 544H (150 ff.)6

A date written at the end of the text by the copyist who produced the whole manuscript indicates that the copy was completed on the 7th Ḏū al-Ḥiǧǧa 1274 H / 19th July 1858 CE. The manuscript is written in a cursive nasḫ, chapter headings and the incipits of their subdivisions are rubricated. A secret alphabet is used to encode the technical details of different procedures. If we consider, however, the instances in which the corresponding letters of the Arabic alphabet are given in inter lineam — by what seems to be the same hand as that of the copyist, using the same ink of the main text — the association between the letters and the signs of the secret alphabet is not consistent. This manuscript also features a few drawings of magical signs, diagrams, and tables that summarize the text.

1.2 (B) MS Berlin Wetzstein II 1375 (70 ff.)7

The manuscript is written in a cursive nasḫ, the chapter headings and the incipits of their subdivisions are rubricated. Along with a few drawings of magical signs, this copy includes vivid illustrations of some spontaneously generated creatures described in the fourth chapter and the schematic but detailed drawings of some tools to perform tricks (magical boxes, bent swords, etc.) that illustrate an additional section on the sleight-of-hand (šaʿbaḏa), wedged between Ch. 8 and Ch. 9. Some specific technical information is not encoded with a secret alphabet, however in the relevant passages the letters are written in their isolated form. Here, the list of chapters is given a layout usually reserved for poetry, with a clear division between the two halves of the line. Some folia are annotated in the margins by the hand of a reader who added parallel recipes and procedures, either collated from a different copy or collected from other materials at his disposal.

1.3 (D) MS Dublin Chester Beatty Ar. 4019 (68 ff.)8

This undated manuscript is written by two different hands, a main one responsible for the greater part of the text, along with a second one that intervenes in a few instances between Ch. 23 and Ch. 25. The chapter and paragraph headings are rubricated in the parts written by the main hand, while they remain black for the second one, usually in bold and sometimes marked by a super linear stroke. Like the Berlin manuscript and in the same position, this witness includes an additional section on different tricks of legerdemain (šaʿwaḏa) accompanied by illustrations of the different devices involved in the tricks, though depicted in a different order. Crucial portions of the procedures are, in some cases, encoded in a secret alphabet, for which the manuscript does not provide a legenda.

1.4 (T) MS Toronto Fischer Library 142 (122 ff.)9

The manuscript is written in a cursive nasḫ, the chapter headings and the incipits of their subdivisions are rubricated. The manuscript features a few drawings of magical signs, diagrams, and tables that summarize the text. It is paginated with Arabic numbers and the same hand added another table of contents with page numbers on one of the blank leaves at the end of the manuscript. The same hand also added a legenda for the secret alphabet used in the manuscript — again, on a blank leaf after the end of the text; here, the rubrications are made with a different ink, purple rather than red — although no part of the text is actually encoded. The colophon tells that the copy was completed in the month of Ramaḍān 1285 H / December 1868 CE (Fig. 8.1).

Figure 8.1
Figure 8.1

List of chapters following the incipit of the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq, MS Toronto Fischer Library 142, p. 2

1.5 (K) MS Jeddah King Saud Library 6230 (72 ff.)10

The manuscript is written in a very cursive nasḫ, the chapter headings and the incipits of their subdivisions are rubricated. The manuscript features a few drawings of magical signs, diagrams, and tables that summarize the text. The copyist occasionally annotated the margins with corrections and additions to the text, though some marginal annotations could also be ascribed to a different hand. Before the colophon, there is a legenda for the secret alphabet used in a number of cases to encode specific technical information. The colophon tells that the copy was completed in the year 1272 H / 1855–56 CE.

1.6 (L) MS London British Library Add. 23390 (ff. 50v–87v)11

This is a multiple-text manuscript matching the Mechanics by Hero of Alexandria (Kitāb fī rafʿ al-ašiyāʾ al-ṯaqīla, ‘On the lifting of heavy things’)12 with the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq, which produces an interesting combination of different technical texts. The text of the Mechanics is enriched with numerous diagrams representing the various machines; these are associated with rubricated progressive numbers expressed by the numerical value of Arabic letters. Other rubrications added to the diagrams indicate their different components. The text of the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq does not contain any diagrams, but several blank spaces suggest that they were part of the initial plan. The original colophon has been erased and replaced with a 19th-century version (f. 87v). An ownership note on f. 1r, however, marks a terminus ante quem at the year 1020 H/ 1611 CE. The manuscript was copied by an expert nasḫ hand, the rubrications in the diagrams might have been added by a different one.

1.7 (La) MS London British Library Or. 3751 (ff. 1v–28r)

The first part of this multiple-text manuscript contains an abridgement of al-ʿIrāqī’s ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq (Fawāʾid min kitāb ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq), also the other two texts in the collection are abridgements of medical and alchemical works. The title page is missing, a blank leaf at the beginning has the legenda of a secret alphabet and the title of the work written upside down, probably from a different hand. The text is written in a regular nasḫ, the chapter and paragraph headings are rubricated, the margins are ample and often filled with annotations and corrections, probably from the same hand.

1.8 (C) Cairo lithographic edition (48 pp.)13

The title page of the lithographic copy of the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq sports a frame divided into two rectangular areas. In the upper one, there is a circular medallion containing a long version of the title and the name of the author with the eulogies of the case. The lower one contains four lines informing us that this edition was printed at the expense of Mister ʿAlī ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd al-Kutubī and printed at the Maṭbaʿa Bārūniyya in Cairo,14 in the year 1321 H/1903 CE. On the following page, the frame is divided into an upper rectangular area including the introduction, and two columns underneath with the list of chapters. On all remaining pages, the text is framed in a rectangle defined by a double line. The incipit of the different chapters is marked by flowered brackets (Fig. 8.2).

Figure 8.2
Figure 8.2

Title page from the lithographic edition of the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq (Cairo, 1321 H/1903 CE)

2 Ordinary Inks and Incredible Tricks

Writing plays a role in different practices described in al-ʿIrāqī’s work and writing, along with inks, stands out as an example of the technical vein in the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq. Not all ink types are represented in the text, which devotes an entire chapter (Ch. 23) to coloured metallic inks and paints, and part of another one to invisible inks (Ch. 18). Compared to technical handbooks on ink making, the selection of the materials included in this treatise is limited and peculiar.15

For the edition of the text — with a practical approach to the fluidity of the tradition — the more inclusive version has been chosen for the main text — i.e. MS Princeton Garrett 544H — and Appendix II gives an overview of the attestation of the recipes in the different witnesses of the manuscript tradition.16 Although it is not possible to define stemmatic relations among the manuscript witnesses, it is still possible to detect some proximity between some of them. The manuscripts T and K, for instance, share a mechanical mistake: recipe nos. 8–10 and 28 are matched with the wrong rubric; these recipes carry in fact the title of the following entry.

The edition presented here is a small philological experiment that I will call a ‘laboratory-edition’; that is to say, it is an edition devised for interdisciplinary use and for collaboration between philologist and chemist. This edition is oriented by its prospective readership and is designed to make the text and its variants accessible, especially to those without direct access to primary sources. Thus, the variant readings are translated and, whenever necessary, commented upon.17 Regarding the variants to be included in the apparatus: the ‘laboratory- edition’ operates a selection and only those focused on the technical aspects of the text are included in the apparatus, leaving aside small orthographical and linguistic variants that do not imply a technical difference. This kind of edition is the first step towards the replication of recipes and provides the material information for setting the research questions that replication may find an answer to.18 The apparatus also includes a section on parallel attestations of the recipe (loci similes) in different treatises on ink making.19

2.1 Coloured Metallic Inks

This broad approach to the collection of sources leads the author to include an entire chapter on metallic inks and coloured paints obtained from the same mineral or metallic compound.20 For other research, there had already been occasion to establish the fluidity of the text and its contents in the relative stable frame of the 30 chapters that compose the book, and the chapter on inks confirms the impression.21 The attestation and distribution of the recipes in the different witnesses shows significant variations (Appendix II). The chapter structure, however, remains constant: opened with a recipe for preparing the gum arabic that is needed for the preparations of all the inks; a number of coloured metallic inks followed by a technical consideration on the composition of colours; and a final part with recipes dealing with chrysography. Manuscript P is the more inclusive version chosen for the main text: the recipes for metallic inks are understandably more numerous and this is the only text to include a procedure for cutting and applying gold leaves (no. 34). This cluster of recipes for coloured metallic inks (nos. 12–27) was probably inserted before the recipe preceding the remark on the composition of colours (‘wood ink,’ here recipe no. 28). The idea that this insertion and its position are deliberate is supported by the fact that the recipe for the ‘wood ink’ is first partially copied before this additional cluster of recipes, and then copied in its entirety after it. The concise style of this particular cluster of recipes, suggests that it represents an addition in this specific copy rather than an omission from the others. The order of the recipes, however, does not apparently follow the one adopted by any other treatise on ink making in particular. Once the position of this additional cluster of recipe has been defined in the frame of the textual tradition of the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq, this material remains relevant from the technical point of view and therefore finds its way in the main text of the ‘laboratory-edition.’

2.2 Invisible and Wondrous Writings

The 18th chapter of the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq, among other things, deals with the preparation of invisible inks, whose impression on paper requires a specific trick or stratagem (ḥīla) to become visible. The different procedures are defined as different kinds of writings (kitāba), which focuses attention on the result rather than on the writing medium. The last preparation is not an invisible ink, but a stimulant for hair growth and it is used to write on the body and to produce an inscription made of hair on the skin.

3 Concluding Remarks

The 13th century was a time of literary interest in the explanation or unveiling of technical tricks, frauds, and dupes. Al-ʿIrāqī’s ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq represents an interesting case in the genre and collects many different streams of tradition: pseudo-Platonic magic, Galenic medicine, occult properties, talismans, sleight of hand, and different crafts. The preparation of metallic inks and invisible writing media can be accounted for in this last component.

Although no direct source is unequivocally identified, the recipes here have many parallels in technical handbooks and texts on ink making. The distribution in two different chapters, however, and the order of the recipes within them seems original, possibly determined by the different kinds of composition and textual genre. The lack of parallel attestations for some recipes may indicate that they might be procedures of al-ʿIrāqī’s own invention, or, alternatively, of other sources still to be identified.

The overall structure of the text — introduction, division into 30 chapters — remains constant throughout the tradition, while the contents of the single chapters and their wording are transmitted in a fluid way with a high degree of variance. The distribution of the recipes displayed in Appendix II and the variance highlighted by the edition shows the fundamental importance of a recensio that aims at completeness, even more in the case of fluid traditions. Preferring a single witness over a number of others would result in a significant loss of information.

The interdisciplinary collaboration for the study of premodern science and technology requires the support of specific tools. The contribution of the philologist may consist of an edition that highlights the technical aspects of the text — a ‘laboratory-edition’ meant for interdisciplinary use — and makes technical variants available to a larger readership.

Appendix I: Descriptive Table of Contents of the Kitāb ʿuyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq

Appendix II: Synoptic Table of the Recipes as Attested in the Different Manuscript Witnesses

Table 8.2
Table 8.2

Invisible writing (kitāba)


This publication is part of the research project Alchemy in the Making: From Ancient Babylonia via Graeco-Roman Egypt into the Byzantine, Syriac, and Arabic Traditions, acronym AlchemEast. The AlchemEast project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (G.A. 724914).


See Eric J. Holmyard, “Abu’ l-Qāsim al-ʿIrāqī,” Isis, 1926, 3:403–426. For the alchemical works of al-ʿIrāqī, see also Kitāb al-ʿilm al-muktasab fī zirāʿat adh-dhahab (Book of Knowledge Acquired Concerning the Cultivation of Gold), ed. and trans. Eric J. Holmyard (Paris: Librarie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1923); and the Book of the Seven Climes (Kitāb al-aqālīm al-ṣabʿah), focusing on alchemical illustrations. A digital copy has been made available by the British Library (MS London BL Add. 23390, ff. 50v–87v), <> (last accessed 9 April 2020); this manuscript is also described and discussed in a post in the British Museum blog by Bink Hallum and Marcel Marée, see <> (last accessed 9 April 2020).


See Liana Saif, “The Cows and the Bees: Arabic Sources and Parallels for Pseudo-Plato’s Liber Vaccae (Kitāb al-nawāmīs),” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute, 2016, 79:1–48; for the Mediaeval Wester tradition of the text, see Maaike van der Lugt, “‘Abominable Mixtures’: The Liber Vaccae in the Medieval West, or the Dangers and Attractions of Natural Magic,” Traditio, 2009, 64:229–277; Paolo Scopelliti and Abdelsattar Chaouech, Liber Anegueminis. “Il libro della vacca” dello pseudo-Abū Zayd Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq ibn Sulaymān ibn Ayyūb al-ʿIbādī (Milano: Mimesis, 2006); and Manuela Höglmeier, Al-Ǧawbarī und sein Kašf al-asrār — ein Sittenbild des Gauners im arabisch-islamichen Mittelalter (7./13. Jahrhundert) (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 2006), p. 396.


For the Arabic text and a thorough commentary, see Höglmeier, Al-Ǧawbarī und sein Kašf al-asrār (cit. note 1); for the French translation, see ‘Abd al-Rahmâne al-Djawbarî, Le Voile arraché. L’autre visage de l’Islam, 2 vols, translated by René R. Khawam (Paris: Phébus, 1979). On the one hand, the two authors might have tapped into the same sources to produce independent works that partially overlap. On the other, it is possible that al-ʿIrāqī used the Kašf al-asrār as source, which, at that time, must have been a very recent addition to technical literature in Arabic. Although al-Ǧawbarī arranged the materials differently, he treated subjects that also found a place in the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq: soporifics, tricks of the conjurers (with writing) and of the astrologers, stratagems to discover thieves. For the parallel attestations in the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq, see Appendix II and Höglmeier, Al-Ǧawbarī und sein Kašf al-asrār (cit. note 1), pp. 346, 233, 214 and 245–250. Tricks contemplating different writing practices are included in the section devoted to the conjurers, the section on the secrets of writing (asrār al-kitāba) exclusively deals with ways to erase writing from different supports, see Höglmeier, Al-Ǧawbarī und sein Kašf al-asrār (cit. note 1), pp. 303–307. The 13th century also saw the composition of al-Iskandarī’s (fl. 640 H/1243 CE) Al-ḥiyal al-bābiliyya. Chapter 14 of this text treats several procedures to encode writing with different cryptographic techniques, invisible inks arranged by the substance that makes them appear, the erasure of writing from papyrus and parchment, and how to dye leaves in different colours. See al-Ḥasan ibn Muḥammad al-Iskandarī, Al-ḥiyal al-bābiliyya li-l-ḫizāna al-kāmiliyya (Al-Iskandariyya: Maktabat al-Iskandariyya, Markaz Dirāsāt al-Ḥiḍārat al-Islāmiyya, 1439/Alexandria: Islamic Civilization Studies Center, 2018). Later, al-Zarḫūrī wrote a handbook to instruct the tricksters, see Lucia Raggetti, “Cum Grano Salis. Arabic Ink Recipes in their Historical and Literary context,” Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, 2016, 7/3:294–338, pp. 328–329. This text is also divided into 30 chapters and its author, though the chronology is not certain, was contemporary to al-ʿIrāqī, possibly one generation older. For an anthology of translated passages from these works, see also Lucia Raggetti, Un coniglio nel turbante. Intrattenimento e inganno nella scienza arabo-islamica (Milano: Editrice Bibliografica, 2021).


The textual tradition of the introduction is very stable, with only minor variants that do not affect the meaning, which allowed me to give a single translation. For the variety and use of secret alphabets, see, for instance, the Kitāb mabāhiǧ al-aʿlām fī manāhiǧ al-aqlām (‘Book of the delights of the signs in the methods of the pens’) by al-Biṣṭāmī (d. 858 H/1454 CE) as attested in MS Leiden Or. 14.121. See pp. 48–49 of Jan Just Witkam’s Inventory of the Oriental Manuscripts of the Library of the University of Leiden, <> (last accessed 1 March 2020).


See Appendix I.


A digital copy of the manuscript is available at < 55t#page/297/mode/1up> (last accessed 9 April 2019).


Wilhelm Ahlwardt, Verzeichniss der arabischen Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, vol. 5 (Berlin: Asher, 1893), p. 99 No. 5567.


A digital copy of the manuscript is available at <> (last accessed 15 April 2020).


A digital copy of the manuscript is available at < qwaid00unse> (last accessed 9 April 2020).


A digital copy of the manuscript is available at <> (last accessed 9 April 2020).


A digital copy of the manuscript is available at <> (last accessed 23 April 2020).


For this text, see Carra de Vaux, Les Mécaniques ou l’Élévateur de Héron d’Alexandrie, publiées pour la première fois sur la version arabe de Qostâ ibn Lûqà et traduites en français (Paris: Leroux, 1894).


A digital copy of the lithograph is available at < 9106144f/f5.item.zoom> (last accessed 9 April 2020).


For this printing press, see Martin H. Custers, Ibadi publishing activities in the east and in the west c. 1880–1960s, An attempt to an inventory, with references to related recent publications (Maastricht: Custers, 2006).


Following the order of technical treatises on ink making, metallic inks will be dealt with before the invisible ones, although the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq treats them, respectively, in Ch. 23 and Ch. 18. The title of Ch. 23 mentions metallic inks and dyes (al-liyaq wa-l-aṣbāġ) but also includes instructions for preparing paints (dihān or adhān) from the same mixtures meant for inks; whereas Ch. 25 is entirely devoted to dyestuffs (al-ḫiḍābāt) for hair and beard.


The summary of the contents has been prepared taking into account the complete manuscript tradition.


Every edition is the result of a compromise between three parties: the text, the editor, and the imagined readership. See Francisco Rico, “Los Quizotes de Hartzenbusch,” in Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, 1806/2006, edited by M. Amores (Madrid: Centro para la edición de los clásicos españoles), pp. 199–220, in particular pp. 203 and 209.


See Lucia Raggetti, “Inks as Instruments of Writing: Ibn al-Ǧazarī’s Book on the Art of Penmanship,” Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, 2019, 10/2:201–239.


In the section of the apparatus reserved for parallel attestations of a recipe (loci similes), the references to handbooks on ink making and other relevant texts are referred to in an abbreviated form: ‘al-Marrākušī’ for Muḥammad ibn Maymūn ibn ʿImrān al-Marrākušī, “Kitāb al-azhār fī ʿamal al-aḥbār li-Muḥammad ibn Maymūn ibn ʿImrān al-Marrākušī,” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften, 2001, 14:103–106; ‘Ibn Bādīs’ for al-Muʿizz ibn Bādīs al-Tamīmī al-Ṣanhāǧī, ʿUmdat al-kuttāb wa-uddat ḏawī al-albāb. Fīhi ṣifat al-ḫaṭṭ wa-l-aqlām wa-l-midād wa-l-liyaq wa-l-ḥibr wa-l-asbāġ wa-ālat al- taǧlīd, edited by Naǧīb Māʾil al-Harawī and ʿIṣām Makkīya (Mašhad: Maǧmaʿ al-Buḥūṯ al-Islāmīya, 1409 / 1988 H); ‘al-Qalalūsī’ for Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Qalalūsī al-Andalusī, Tuḥaf Al-Jawāṣṣ Fī Turaf Al-Jawāṣṣ (Las galanduras de la nobleza en lo tocante a los conocimientos más delicados), edited by Hossam Ahmed Mokhtar El-Abbady (Alexandria: Maktabat al-Iskandarīya, 2007); ‘al-Rāzī’ for Muḥammad ibn Zakariyyāʾ al-Rāzī, Zīnat al-kataba, ed. Luṭf Allāh al-Qārī, ʿĀlam al-Maḫṭūṭāt wa-l-Nawādir, 1432/2011, 16/2:211–242; ‘Fani’ for Sara Fani, Le arti del libro secondo le fonti arabe originali. I ricettari arabi per la fabbricazione degli inchiostri (sec. ix–xiii): loro importanza per una corretta valutazione e conservazione del patrimonio manoscritto (PhD Diss., Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale,” 2013); ‘Cum Grano Salis’ for Raggetti, Cum Grano Salis (cit. note 2), in particular for al-Zarḫūrī’s Zahr al-basātīn; and ‘Siggel, Decknamen’ for Alfred Siggel, Arabisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch der Stoffe (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1950); and ‘al-Iskandarī’ for al-Iskandarī, Al-ḥiyal al-bābiliyya (cit. note 3).


The themes of colours and writing are also present in other sections of the book. Invisible inks are treated in Chapter 18 among the tricks of those who dupe people with written messages that suddenly appear or disappear, while Chapter 25 deals with dyeing substances. See Appendix I. The name līqa refers to inks by extension, being this a wad of unspun silk, wool or cotton placed in the inkwell’s neck to prevent the ink from being spilled when the pen is dipped in it, see Adam Gacek, Arabic Manuscripts. A Vademecum for Readers (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2009).


In particular, the reading of the fourth chapter on wondrous fermentations in the different witnesses reveals a high degree of variance in the wording and contents of the various witnesses to the ʿUyūn al-ḥaqāʾiq.


For other procedures to obtain coloured leaves, see Raggetti, Cum Grano Salis, p. 333 (No. 130).


See Höglmeier, Al-Ǧawbarī (cit. note 2), p. 214; for the variant readings attested in this chapter heading, see the edition in this chapter.

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