I love illustrated manuscripts. This is an illustration from an old Arabic manuscript. I love Arab script. I used to be able to write it, but not calligraphically. The calligraphers spend a lifetime learning to do that. But look at that angel, with the head at the tip of his wing. Beautiful.
This illustration reminds me of three diverse books. One is My Name is Red by Orham Pamuk. Pamuk is Turkish and I read the book after returning from several weeks in Turkey. The book is about the calligraphers who do this amazing art.
The second book is A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. A classic of science fiction, this book was written in 1960 about a post-apocalyptic world where a group of monks set out to preserve knowledge and solve the mystery of an ancient grocery list. Okay, it’s much more than that. But I’ll never forget the grocery list. I think of it often.
The third is Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose, a book set in a library. And what a library. Manuscripts! An embarrassment of manuscripts. Another great read. In fact, I think I have to head for Barnes and Noble right now and put some of these books on my Nook.
This post brought to you by the words magpie, mandible, manilla, and mandrake, and by the number million.