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Arab Patriotism / Cairo Imprint / Arabic Names: كتاب الدر الثمين في اسماء البنات والبنين


[Kitab üd-Dürr üs-Semin fi Esma ül-Benat ve’l-Benin / The Book of Precious Pearls of Boys’ and Girls’ Names]


A rare book listing Arabic male and female names was printed by an early all-Arab patriotic press in Cairo


8°, 242 pp., modern brown cloth binding with debossed and gilt decoration and lettering (age-toned, small worm-holes in the lower part of the text, mostly in the front and back leaves, paper fragile with small loss of paper to the margins, old dedication in black ink in Ottoman on the second page).


1 in stock


A rare book with various Arabic names for boys and girls was published by an early Arabic Press Wadi an-Nil in Cairo under the Ottoman Rule. The author Mehmed Mukbil was the chief of the Ottoman office of the foreign affairs. The texts lists thousands of variations of the Arabic names.


Wadi an-Nil Printing Press and Publishing House

Wadi an-Nil (وادى النيل, The Nile Velley) was an early Arab press in Cairo under the Ottoman rule. Its historically most important publication was a newspaper with the same name, which was the first private Egyptian periodical. It was issued from 1867 on and as a curiosity, its title page featured the first images of a human figure in the history of the Arabic newspapers.

The owners of the printing house were Abdullah Abu As-Suud and his son Muhammad Unsi, who previous owned another press with Latin and Arabic types in Cairo as well as a lithographic press for popular mystical and theological texts.

Wadi an-Nil published circa 50 books and four journals over the period of 11 years, but mostly between 1867 and 1873. It was specialized in printing in fusha, the modern standard Arabic. Among their publications were an Arabic primer, the translations of the Egyptian Museum catalogue, librettos of the operas Les Huguenots and Aida and a translation of The Count of Monte Cristo.

The publications of Wadi an-Nil played an important role in the history of establishing the Egyptian and Arabic identity and printing culture. It was rumored, that the press was supported by the khedive himself.

The publishing house was taken over by the new owners in 1878. (For details see: Mestyan 2020, pp. 132ff).

We could trace five institutional examples in the western libraries (Universitätsbibliothek München, British Library, University of Manchester Library, New York Public Library System, University of Utah).


References: OCLC 635012509, 122892318, 4770092993. Cf. Adam Mestyan, Arab Patriotism: The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt, 2020.

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