Collectors and admirers of old books will want to know about the discovery and imminent sale of an early al-Tusi astronomical manuscript which will go on the block at Christies in London this coming week. From the Christies blog:

“In the world of ancient books and manuscripts, very often even the experts are unaware of the existence of important copies of key works. That was the case here,” explains Romain Pingannaud, specialist in Islamic Art, of this 13th-century copy of a compendium of astronomical and mathematical treatises by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201-1274). “This was an incredible surprise,” he adds.

Born in Tus, in former Anatolia (present-day Iran), al-Tusi was one of the medieval world’s most eminent scholars. Credited with having invented trigonometry, he wrote on a wide range of topics within mathematics and astronomy, as well as on logic and theology. He also famously founded the observatory at Maragha, Iran, in 1259, which sparked a major renaissance in Islamic astronomy.

This manuscript will be offered on April 26th in the Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds sale at Christie’s in London. But before you get excited about adding it to your collection, it might be best for you to know that the auction estimate is $425,400-$709,000.


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