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Illustrations from

Kitāb al-mawālīd

The Demon Zauba'a
with mace

Negroes in Taurus,
Leo, Libra & Pisces

Negroes in phases
of the moon

Armoured Cavalry


Mercury in conjunction with Taurus

Armoured cavalry on foot in Aries
Armoured cavalry on foot in Gemini
Armoured cavalry in Scorpio
Negroes with axe & armoured cavalry with ventail in Capricorn
Negroes in Aquarius

Title: Book of nativities, attributed to Abu Maʿschar
Author of text: Abū Maʿšar al-Balḥī, Ğaʿfar ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿUmar (0805?-0886).
Publication Date: 1300
Subject: Astrology
Type: manuscript
Language: Arabic
Format: Many coloured drawings, the first four represent Satan and other demons. - Paper. - 37 sheets. - Height, 36 inches; width 26 and a half centimeters. About 27 lines per page.
Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Arabe 2583
Description: Kitab al-mawālīd
Description: The drawings show the figures of the zodiac signs, the phases of the moon personified, and other bizarre pictures. The first pages are missing. The last two pages, more modern than the rest of the ms., are dated to the year 700 AH (1300 AD).

Each of the planets can be identified by their typical iconography. Mercury (al-cutarid) is a man with a scroll or book; Venus (al-zuhara) is a female musician playing an instrument; Mars (al-mirrikh) is a warrior, holding a sword and a severed head; Saturn (al-zuhal) a dark skinned man with a white beard; Jupiter (al-mushtari) is a sage or a judge, wearing a turban; the Moon (al-qamar) is a human figure holding a crescent and the Sun (al-shams) is a human figure holding a solar-disk.

Drawn by the painter Qanbar ‛Alī Shīrāzī about the middle of the 13th century p.71 Painting in Islam, A Study of the Place of Pictorial Art in Muslim Culture By Thomas Arnold

Referenced as figure 651 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
651. Manuscript, Astrology of Abū Maʿshar al Balkhī, early 14th century AD , Egyptian (?), Bib. Nat., Ms. Ar. 2583, Paris. (Hal).

Reference: David Pingree, “Abu Masar,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, pp. 337-340

Other 13th century illustrations of Costume & Soldiers