Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962), New York to 1930 
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York in 1930 
 Object file, undated folder sheet note. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.
 See note 1.
- Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)
Hagop Kevorkian 1872-1962
Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Kitab fi ma`arifat al-hiyal al-handisaya (The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices), "Automata," by al-Jazari; text: Arabic in black and red naskh script; recto: A hand-washing device in the form of a woman holding a pitcher; verso: text, one column, 21 lines; one of a group of 8 folios.
Commonly referred to as the Automata al-Jazari's scientific text is among the most fascinating illustrated works from the Arab world. It is devoted to the construction of fifty mechanical devices, ranging from fountains, clocks, and automated palace gates to pitchers, locks, and bolts.
One chapter discusses hand-washing devices, such as this large ewer held by a kneeling female attendant in a domed pavilion. Al-Jazari maintains that once the bird whistles, water pours into a basin below. A duck then drinks the used water and releases it through its tail into a container hidden under the platform.
- Published References
- Angela Vanhaelen. The Moving Statues of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam: Automata, Waxworks, Fountains, Labyrinths. University Park, Pennsylvania, March 8, 2022. plate 10.
- Antonio Garcia Jaen. Arte y Artistas Musulmanes. Madrid. pl. 33.
- The Encyclopedia of World Art. 17 vols., New York. cols. 185-186, pl. 77.
- Anna Contadini. The Kitab Manafi 'al Hayawan in the Escorial Library. no. 3. p. 43.
- Sheila Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Kent Severson. Waterscapes: Islamic Architecture & Art from Doris Duke's Shangri La. Newport, Rhode Island. p. 48.
- Sheila Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom. The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250-1800. Yale University Press Pelican History of Art London. p. 103, fig. 132.
- Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 51, p. 110.
- The Book of Ingenious Devices [Kitab al-hiyal]. Dordrecht, Holland and Boston. p. 232, pl. 26.
- Jose Pijoan. Arte Islamico. vol. 12, Summa artis, historia general del arte, 1st ed. Madrid. p. 338, fig. 471.
- Collection Area(s)
- Arts of the Islamic World
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