More than Dh60 million worth of rare manuscripts, artefacts coming to Sharjah show

Description of Egypt 1-1619444768729
Photo of ‘Description of Egypt’ manuscript. Rare written works and artefacts will be unveiled to the public at the ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition to be held at Sharjah Book Authority from April 28 to May 3. Image Credit:

Sharjah: Around Dh60 million worth of rare written works and artefacts will be unveiled to the public at the ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition to be held at Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) headquarters from Wednesday to May 3.

The collection includes early written material including books and manuscripts and a collection of rare artefacts. Open to the public from 8pm to midnight starting Wednesday, the exhibition will also feature a series of cultural sessions and panel discussions where history and archaeology experts will discuss the role of manuscripts in unveiling the scientific and cultural achievements and address the importance of its preservation for future generations.

Journey back in time

SBA Chairman Ahmad Al Ameri said: “Through the extensive collection of written material and manuscripts, ‘Tales from the East’ will enable visitors to journey hundreds of years back in time and witness the events and innovations that have shaped the course of our history. This unique exhibition is being held in line with the vision of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, which affirms that acquiring knowledge is a continuous and cumulative journey, and that exploring history is vital to creating a better future.”

KATIB CELEBI Cihan-numa 1742-1619444771797

Art of creating books

Al Ameri added: “The exhibition not only explores the formative work of scientists, innovators and thought leaders over several centuries but also highlights the meticulous art of creating books in the ancient days and the relentless efforts that have gone into developing civilisations. The priceless works on display here will serve as an inspiration for the young generations to work harder and recognise that harnessing knowledge is the key to serving their nations and humanity.”

What can visitors expect?

On display at the ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition will be the first edition and first issue of the Description of Egypt comprising of 23 volumes and illustrated with 935 plates. This colossal work of history is the result of the collaboration between scientists, artists, and technicians who followed Napoleon Bonaparte to Egypt. It is the “most monumental work ever dedicated to a people”, and is still considered a prime documentary source.

Visitors can also view the first edition of Katib Çelebi’s masterpiece, The Mirror of the World, published in Constantinople by Ibrahim Müteferrika in 1732 and illustrated with 40 coloured maps and plates including the famous map of the Arabian Peninsula drawn by Ahmad Al Qirimi. It also contains astrological models of the universe, and climate and wind maps, among others.

Journey to Persia

The exhibition will also house Journey to Persia, penned by orientalist Adrien Dupré and published in 1819. This book documents his travels through Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Turkey, Armenia and Persia.

The exhibition will also feature globes from the 17th to the 20th centuries, including an exceptional and rare pair of terrestrial and celestial 49cm coloured parquet globes by Mattaheus Greuter released in Roma in 1632 and 1636. A large collection of antique posters, illustrated books and atlases, and a host of rare manuscripts will also be on display at the exhibition.