All Collections
Back to Publications

Science, Tools & Magic: Part One, Body and Spirit Mapping the Universe

Science, Tools & Magic
Part One: Body and Spirit Mapping the Universe

Published 1997

Part One
Body and Spirit, Mapping the Universe
Francis Maddison and Emilie Savage-Smith

Part Two
Mundane Worlds
Emilie Savage-Smith with contributions by Ralph Pinder-Wilson and Tim Stanley

This two-part volume contains a large and important group of objects and manuscripts that may be broadly categorised as scientific instruments, tools or magical implements.

Many objects of this kind have never before been systematically catalogued, and this volume brings together much information previously scattered to present a corpus of material for future comparative study.

The astronomical instruments are those primarily connected with the fundamental concerns of Islamic astronomy – determining the times of prayer and the direction of Mecca – and the teaching and practice of cosmology and astrology.

The Collection includes important individual pieces, among them a fine celestial globe made in 1285–6 and a unique Judeo-Arabic astrolabe of circa 1300. Another 218 entries include medical manuscripts, magic bowls, amulets and other magical or geomantic devices that reflect different aspects of medieval Islamic medical care, while a group of mortars, a selection from the large collection of locks, and miscellaneous tools such as scissors, scales and weights, complete this survey of objects which embody the varied preoccupations of Islamic culture.

The information presented includes a ground-breaking study of leather workers in medieval Iran.

About the author(s)

The late Francis Maddison – Former Curator, Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford; specialist in scientific instruments and their makers

Professor Emilie Savage-Smith – Fellow of the British Academy; Professor of the History of Islamic Science, Oxford University; specialist in Islamic science, medicine and magic

The late Ralph Pinder-Wilson – Former Keeper of the Department of Oriental Antiquities, British Museum, London; specialist in the arts of Iran, India and Afghanistan

Tim Stanley – Senior Curator, Middle Eastern collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; specialist in Islamic manuscript production, calligraphy and the decorative arts and has a longstanding interest in Ottoman culture


set of two parts; 439 pages (the set); fully illustrated in colour, numerous line drawings, section on documentary inscriptions with translations; hardback with dust jackets (slipcased); 36 x 26 cm; 1997; ISBN: 1-874780-59-5



Share this page

Share this page