Rare Islamic texts exhibited in US

The University of Kentucky Special Collections library has several texts from the Middle East on display at a special collection open to the public. The texts are written in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, and are mostly religious texts, including written copies of the Qur'an.

The handwritten documents range from the 16th to the 19th century and are in several cases accompanied by illustrations, many of which are still vibrantly colourful and complete.

The earliest work, by Persian poet Ferdowsi, is one of the illustrated works, a version of his epic poem Shahnameh.

There are also three printed works which are thought to be three of the earliest uses of printing from the region: a history of Egypt written in Turkish (1729), an Arabic discussion of ethics (1775), and a Persian poetry book (1833).

Islamic manuscript University of Kentucky
An Islamic manuscript on display at the University of Kentucky

Philip D Sang, businessman and philanthropist from Chicago donated the works. He has previously made other donations to the library including a bust of President Lincoln.

At Paul Fraser Collectibles, we currently have another rare and saught-after 18th century religious text which can be yours to own.

The exhibition is open 8am to 5pm on week days until November 16.

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