عنوان مقاله [English]
The strange wonderful themes and contents of this world have been discussed in different periods. In addition to their authorship by scholars, the writing of these manuscripts has also been considered. Usually, paintings have shown the concepts as well as the decoration of the texts of the manuscripts. Among the oldest of these texts are the Wonder Letters.
Wonder letters are about unknown concepts rooted in people's beliefs, traditions and culture. They have narrated what was new to human and what he did not know well in general as well as secrets. Therefore, man has entered every phenomenon into the scope of wonders due to lack of knowledge. These themes have reached the authors of wonder letters with changes during different periods. Furthermore, what is known as knowledge today is sometimes the discovery of that mystery and wonder.
This mystery was introduced in the literature with the advent of wonder letters. In this way, literature began to recount these wonders in geographical books and travelogues. Eventually, strange subjects in the fields of zoology, ethnography, geography, astronomy, and other sciences became popular in the literary form with their exclusive features. Of course, over time, the scientific aspect of these wonder letters faded and in some cases changed to folk literature. In these manuscripts, the themes are more clearly expressed by the illustrations. Qazvini's book "Ajā'ib al-Makhlūqāt wa Gharā'ib al-Mawjūdāt" is one of these works that has been translated into several languages and its content has been illustrated.
The aim of the present study is to discover the relationship between the images of the planets in the book "Ajā'ib al-Makhlūqāt wa Gharā'ib al-Mawjūdāt" by Qazvini and the views of Abu Rayhan al-Biruni. The book is written by Zakaria bin Mohammad bin Mahmud almakmuti Qazvini (605-682 AH). He has been compared to Pliny (a natural scientist and Roman writer) for his breadth of information and lack of scientific thought, and has been called "the Medieval Pliny." This book contains information about the sky, planets, stars and their movements, as well as about time, day, night, moon, seasons together with the Arab, Roman and Iranian calendars. The other part of the book describes the earth, water, land, seas, islands, and mountains as well as all the early information on natural history. This book is one of the most valuable works of natural and human geography of the Iranians in the Islamic period.
The various versions of this book are accompanied by paintings that have helped to understand the contents of the book, and are among the few Arabic books that are decorated with pictures and have miniatures in addition to astronomical pictures and tables. Some images of plants, animals, and wildlife are imaginary, but in some cases miniatures have helped to explain important issues, such as the history of the image of the stars and natural history. There are many manuscripts of the wonder letter of Qazvini that are kept inside and outside of Iran. Many editions of this book have been published in Europe as well. Regarding the sources of this book, we can mention the works of Abu Ali Sina, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, and especially the book Al-Haywan written by Abu Othman Jahez. Besides, the book Tohfat al-Qaraib is mentioned many times in the book.
The present study has used the book "Al-Tafhim li Awa'il Sana'at al-Tanjim" written by Abu Rayhan al-Biruni. Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (362-362 AH) was an Iranian scientist in the field of mathematics, geometry, astronomy, and the maker of new tools and instruments in astronomy, geography, mineralogy, and pharmacology.
This research has been done in order to answer this question: what is the relation between the text and the paintings of the book “Ajā'ib al-Makhlūqāt wa Gharā'ib al-Mawjūdāt” by Qazvini and the text of the book "Al-Tafhim li Awa'il Sana'at al-Tanjim"?
The research method is descriptive-analytical with a comparative approach and the information is collected through documentary and library methods. Then, the paintings from the Aflak section are compared with the text of Qazvini's book as well as the text of the book "Al-Tafhim li Awa'il Sana'at al-Tanjim" which contains Abu Rayhan al-Biruni's views on astronomy. After a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the cases, the study has come to the conclusion that the themes and paintings of Aflak are related to each other in three versions of Qazvini’s “Ajā'ib al-Makhlūqāt wa Gharā'ib al-Mawjūdāt” including the Arabic copy (1280 AD), the Persian copy (around 1500 to 1599 AD), and the second Arabic copy (1750 to 1770 AD). However, the content of the book was not enough for illustrating, and the painters relied on information from other texts to invent the paintings, including the book "Al-Tafhim li Awa'il Sana'at al-Tanjim".
Therefore, since the paintings of the Wonder Letters were based on the text, in the cases of lack of information, it has been compensated by gathering information from other sources.