Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc., New York to 1942 
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc. in 1942 
 See Freer Gallery or Art Purchase List after 1920, Collections Management Office.
 See note 1.
- Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)
Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc.
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 naskh script; recto: text, 20 lines; verso: illustration and text: The water clock of the drummers, 3 lines; one of a group of 8 folios.
Commonly referred to as the Automata, al-Jaziri's fascinating text is devoted to the construction of fifty mechanical devices, including fountains, clocks, pitchers, and gates. The first section describes a variety of clocks, fueled by either heat or water. According to al-Jaziri, at every hour the figure on the parapet of this elaborate and playful device moves one crenellation. The falcon in the center drops a ball from its beak into the vessel below, setting off a chime that in turn signals the musicians to play.
Although intended primarily as an illusrative diagram, the composition's overall execution, especially the animated group of musicians, attests to the artistic sophistication of early Arab painting.
- Published References
- Anna Contadini. The Kitab Manafi 'al Hayawan in the Escorial Library. no. 3. cat. 5, p. 48.
- Sabine Katharina Klaus. Trumpets and Other High Brass. p. 61, fig. 3.2.
- Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 45, p. 104.
- L'Age d'or des sciences arabes: Exposition présentée a l'Institut du monde arabe, Paris, 25 octobre 2005-19 mars 2006. Exh. cat. Arles and Paris. p. 217.
- Dr. Esin Atil. Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks. Exh. cat. Washington. pp. 255-56, fig. 1, 15.
- Andrew Lehr. De geschiedenis van het astronomisch kunstuurwerk: zijn techniek en muziek. Den Haag. p. 279.
- Collection Area(s)
- Arts of the Islamic World
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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