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John Randall (Books of Asia)
Antiquarian, rare and out-of-print books on the Islamic World, Central Asia & Tibet, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, China & Japan. Reference books on Asian and Oriental art
We are pleased to offer an exceptional collection of more than eighty books published over three centuries, showing the spread of the printing of Arabic and cognate scripts throughout the western world. Our earliest volume, the Libri Tasriphi of Abd al-Wahhab ibn Ibrahim Al-Zanjani, was printed in Rome in 1610 by the Medici Oriental Press, the first European printer to specialise in printing books with an Arabic typeface. This is followed by the first lexicon in the field of Arabic studies (Schindler, 1612) and two variant printings of Savary de Brèves´ Psalms in Arabic (1614).
Also featured is the first printing of Persian in Arabic type (1639), as well as Edward Pococke´s Specimen historiae Arabum, recognised as a revolution in Arabic studies. Numerous publications of the Propaganda Fide press set up in Rome in 1626 to print sacred and other texts in non-Roman alphabets are included (1630, 1636, 1650, 1661, &c). Amongst them, their alphabets of Ethiopic, Coptic, and Arabic, as first printed in Rome (1715). An extraordinary inaugural lecture on the antiquity, beauty and use of the Arabic language delivered at Oxford by the orientalist and biblical scholar, Thomas Hunt (1739) is also present.
Another great rarity is Sir William Jones´s Arabic edition of Ibn al-Mutafanninah´s The Mahomedan law of succession (1782). Our collection also includes the first European grammar of Kurdish (1787), a beautifully printed record of the Arab legacy in Sicily, Rerum Arabicarum (1790), Viguier´s Turkish grammar printed on Count Choiseul-Gouffier´s press at the French embassy at Pera in Constantinople (1790), and the first Arabic bible to be printed in England (1811), a remarkable work of Arabic typography.
Also of note is the first printed appearance of part of The Arabian Nights in Arabic (1813), and what we believe to be the first printing in Arabic of Ibn Battuta´s travels (1818). We include as well the first single-subject dictionary of Arabic, Dozy´s Dictionnaire détaillé des noms des vêtements chez les Arabes (1845) which defines the terms used to describe all forms of clothing in the Islamic world from Spain to India, and Edward Lane´s An Arabic-English lexicon (1863), one of the finest dictionaries ever written in any language.
Last but not least is a superb collection of Arabic documents printed in St. Petersburg in 1908. This fine collection includes books printed in twenty-eight cities of thirteen countries, from Oxford to Constantinople, and from Moscow to Palermo and Malta. Malta is included not just as the place of publication of a scarce work on astronomy (1833), but as the source of Vassalli´s 1796 Dictionary of Maltese, one of the earliest publications in Maltese, a dialect of Sicilian Arabic.
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