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BAHNAME / MEDICO-EROTIC TREATISE / MECCA IMPRINT: كتاب رجوع الشيخ الى صباه في القوة على الباه


[Kitāb Rujūʻ al-shaykh ilá ṣibāhu fī al-qūwah ʻalá al-bāh / The Book of the Sheikh’s Return to His Youth in Power of the Bah [i. e. Sexual Energy] …]


4°, 133 pp. with metal plate impressions, contemporary marbled paper binding with a flap and red calf spines, old paper tag with a title on the cover, contemporary pink endpapers, taxation stamp on the title page (binding slightly scratched, a tiny wormhole in the last pages in the inner margin, front endpapers with hand-written numbers in ink, inside in a good, clean condition).

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This unusual book in Arabic language is a text on erotic, sexuality, libido and medicine – a so called Bahname. The printed seal on the last text page places the book in first year of the foundation of the first press in Mecca, Matbaatü’l-Amiriyye.

Bahname, consisting of words Bah (Arabic for sexual desire) and Name (Persian for a book), are medico-erotic treatises, which were issued in the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire in Arabic, Persian and Ottoman language. In addition to teaching about the sexual practices, they give advices on the sexual diseases, pregnancies, preventive medicines, birth etc…

Text were published in various versions and by various authors, possibly first in the Arabic and Persian languages to manage early puberty.

Our book is an Arabic translation of a popular Ottoman text, which was prepared by an esteemed Ottoman historian and author Ibn Kemal (1468-1536) for Sultan Selim I. in the 16th century.
The book is divided in two parts, each with thirty chapters. The first thirty chapters are dedicated to the secrets of men and what strengthens them in their sexual life in terms of food and medicine. The following thirty chapters are dedicated to the secrets of women, how to please them and what medicine to use to increase the pleasure.

The book was printed by the Matbaatü’l-Amiriyye in Mecca (المطبعة الأميرية مكة, lit. Princely Press) in the year of its foundation in 1300 (1883) as one of the first books.

Matbaatü’l-Amiriyye was the first press in Mecca founded by the Ottoman Government under the governor of the Hijaz Osman Nuri Pasha (عثمان نوری پاشا‎‎; 1832 – 1900) with a goal to print science books to spread the knowledge.

The book is exceedingly rare and we could not find any references to it. The more common Cairo edition was published six years later, in 1306 (1889).

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