This majestic illustrated work was written in the 18th century by a Sufi saint, Islamic scholar, physicist, astronomer and İbrahim Hakkı (1703 – 1780).
The book includes a map of the World in two hemispheres and from the north and south perspective, astronomical charts and various other charts. The print is a charming combination of a letterpress and lithographed illustrations. The text consists of three books and is combining the religion with the science. It starts with the God, followed by the analysis of the minerals, basic beings, plants and finally a man. It is followed by richly illustrated chapters on the geography and the universe.
Hakkı then analyses the human body from the aesthetic point of view and connects the bodily features with the persona. The text ends discussing the relations and respect between the people, especially between the man and his wife, their relatives, servants and neighbours and the responsibility towards children.
Hakkı finished writing Marifetname in 1757. In the next decades this richly illustrated work was copied in manuscript until it was first printed in 1835 (1251) by the Bulaq press.
The Bulaq or Al-Amiriya Press (Amiri Press, Amiria Press), the first Muslim official and governmental printing press established in Egypt, was founded in 1820 by the viceroy of Egypt Muhammad Ali (1769-1849) and is still active today.
Already in 1815, the first delegation was sent from Cairo to Milan to learn the printing techniques. After the construction of the press was finished in the autumn of 1820, it took another two years to transport the machines and school the employees. The first book, an Arabic-Italian dictionary, was published in 1822. In the next decades the Bulaq Press became the leading publishing house for the Arab world.
Marifetname was commissioned privately for commercial reasons. Between 1351 (1835-36) until 1299 (1882) 17 editions of Merifetname were printed by the Cairo / Bulyq press, all of which are rare today. This is the first edition.
We could not find any institutional examples on Worldcat.
References: Özege No.12259. Bekir Topaloğlu, MÂRİFETNÂME, TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi (https://islamansiklopedisi.org.tr/marifetname). Hsu Cheng Hsiang, The First Years of Arabic Printing in Egypt 1238-1269. 1822-1851. The Checklist; no. 252 – Edn1.
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