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Catalogue: Magical/Astrological Medicine

Blue arrow pointing to the right [Magical Medicine]   (MS A 91.1, item 13)

This is an untitled, anonymous essay, written in Urdu, on magical medicine and talismanic designs.

No other copy has been identified.

Physical Description

Urdu. 8 pages (pp. 265-272). Dimensions 19.5 x 12.2 (text area, written almost to edges of paper in both direction) cm; lines per page vary.

This particular item is undated and unsigned. Another item in the volume transcribed by a different hand (item 11) was copied in 1304 (= 1886-7), and there is an owner's stamp dated 1886 embossed in the volume. It is likely that all the items in the volume were copied about this time, probably in India.

The text is written in a small, personal, nasta‘liq script using a gray ink with headings in red ink. It is written in a hand very different from the other hands in the volume.

A mix of papers makes up the volume. Pages 1-96 are a light-gray, stiff paper with vertical laid lines, single chain lines, and very large watermarks (crown at top of an oval within which there is a woman wearing a crown and holding a sceptre; the letters 'WKing'). Pages 97-116 are a light-brown paper with no laid or chain lines. Pages 119-134 and 149-166 are composed of very thin transparent paper having prominent horizontal laid lines, every eighth of which is a dark even more prominent line. Pages 117-8, 135-147, 167-246, 261-276 are a thin biscuit paper with no laid or chain lines. Pages 247-260 are a light-brown paper with vertical laid lines and single chain lines (no watermarks observed). The edges of the paper have been trimmed so that some labels and numbering at the top have been cut off. There are ink smudges, and the paper is yellowed and damp-stained near the edges.

The volume consists of 276 pages. Pages 1,4, 115-117, 144-148, 255-260, 273-275 are blank. Pages 118 and 276 are blank except for later casual notes and recipes. Between 148 and 149 there is a small slip of paper with just the beginning phrases of an unidentified treatise. The first item is written in a larger script than the other items and on slightly different paper. The remaining items appear to have been copied by several different but closely related hands, though the last item is distinctly different from the preceding ones.

Pages 2-114 (item 1) contain an untitled Urdu treatise on alchemy and astrology, anonymous (MS A 91.1, item 1); pp. 119-143 (item 2) Kitāb al-Uūl by Jābir ibn ayyān (MS A 91.1, item 2); pp. 149-156 (item 3) Kitāb al-Tadābīr by Jābir ibn ayyān (MS A 91.1, item 3); pp. 157-158 (item 4) an untitled Persian alchemical essay, anonymous (MS A 91.1, item 4); pp. 159-184 (item 5) al-Jami‘ al-mas’ūl wa-al-bulūgh al-ma’mūl fī izhār mā khafiya min al-sirr al-majhūl, attributed to Jābir ibn ayyān (MS A 91.1, item 5); pp. 184-185 (item 6) Mas'alah min Kitāb al-ukamā', anonymous (MS A 91.1, item 6); pp. 186-197 (item 7) Fī bayān al-khamā’ir attributed to Jābir ibn ayyān (MS A 91.1, item 7); pp. 197-215 (item 8) Kitāb al-Malāghim al-aghar [al-thānī] by Jābir ibn ayyān (MS A 91.1, item 8); pp. 215-225 (item 9) Kitāb al-Malāghim al-thālith by Jābir ibn ayyān (MS A 91.1, item 9); pp. 226-238 (item 10) Tafsīr al-malāghim by Jābir ibn ayyān (MS A 91.1, item 10); pp. 238-254 (item 11) al-ajar al-mubārak, anonymous (MS A 91.1, item 11); pp. 261-264 (item 12) an untitled Persian alchemical tract, anonymous (MS A 91.1, item 12); and pp. 265-272 (item 13) an untitled essay on magical medicine and talismanic designs here catalogued.


The volume is bound an a modern library green cloth binding with a red leather spine. There are modern endpapers and pastedowns.


Pages 118, 246, and 247 have been embossed with an oval stamp having a border of flowers and the date '1886' in the center.

No information is available on provenance or when it came into the collection of NLM. It was in the Armed Forces Medical Library by 1955.



NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 56-40 no. 3

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