Kitāb Ṣuwar al-kawākib al-thābitah (The Book of the Constellations of the Fixed Stars)

This is a very early manuscript of the most important guide to the constellations in the Islamic world, written by al-Ṣūfī, a court astronomer in Isfahan, Iran. al-Ṣūfī describes each constellation in turn, and follows his descriptions with a catalogue of its stars according to Ptolemy. But he builds on Ptolemy by making amendments and revisions according to his own detailed observations. Drawn around each star pattern is the appropriate figure of the zodiac. Usually al-Ṣūfī gives an Arabic transcription of the Greek names for the constellations, then gives the names which had been assigned to them by the Arabs. He provides two illustrations for each constellation: one as represented on a celestial globe, and one as seen from the ground.


The colophon states that this manuscript was written out and illustrated by the author’s son, al-Husayn ibn ʿAbd al-Rah.mān ibn ʿUmar ibn Muh. ammad, in 400 AH (AD 1009); it may in fact date up to a century and a half later, with parts supplied in about the fourteenth century and in the sixteenth century

In Arabic; 424 pages, 268 x 182 mm

Later eastern-style binding with fore edge flap: goatskin