SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – From ancient Egyptian religions to Edgar Allen Poe's The Black Cat to the latest I Can Haz Cheeseburger meme, felines, literature, and culture have enjoyed a long love affair. But perhaps no other feline has walked through history in quite the fashion that a Mediterranean cat did when it left paw prints across the pages of a 15th century manuscript from Dubrovnik, Croatia (map).
While thumbing through the medieval manuscript in July 2011, Emir O. Filipović, a teaching and research assistant at the University of Sarajevo, discovered pages of the book stained with the inky paw prints of a cat and snapped a picture—something he planned on sharing with colleagues and students for a laugh.
"I never could have imagined the attention that those prints would subsequently receive," Filipović wrote in an email.
Filipović sent the photo to fellow historian Erik Kwakkel via twitter in September 2012, but it wasn't until earlier this year that the paw prints saw a flurry of reblogging, retweeting, and sharing.
"It's not very often that a researcher can come across curious things while sifting through monotonous and dull archival registers," Filipović said. But the more time spent scouring manuscripts, the better the chances of stumbling across oddities.
In the course of his research—which Filipović started in 2008—he's come across small doodles, strange fungi, elaborate decorated initials, holes presumably drilled through the manuscripts by worms or other pests, and even carefully crafted watermarks.
While it makes for an interesting cat meme, Filipović hopes the photo will move beyond a fun find and inspire more interest in the medieval Mediterranean.
"[The photo] could perhaps encourage at least one researcher to dedicate more time to the history of Dubrovnik, its immediate Hinterland (Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia), and the wider Mediterranean region."
The photo will be featured in the Interactive Album of Medieval Paleography, a collection of transcription exercises intended to help train students and amateurs in the practical aspects of reading manuscript texts—especially how to decipher medieval handwriting.
Maintained by historian Marjorie Burghart, of the European Association for Digital Humanities, the album's featured manuscripts range from the 9th to the 15th century.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —The ninth Islamic Manuscript CONFERENCE Manuscripts of the Mamluk Sultanate and Its Contemporaries 2-4 September 2013, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
The Islamic Manuscript Asso ciation is pleased to announce that the Ninth Islamic Manuscript Conference will be held at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge from 2 to 4 September 2013. The Conference will be hosted in cooperation with the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and the HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge.
The Association invites the submission of abstracts on topics related to the study of Islamic manuscripts, particularly codicology, and the care and management of Islamic manuscript collections. Preference will be shown to submissions pertaining to the Conference’s theme: Manuscripts of the Mamluk Sultanate and Its Contemporaries.
The Conference seeks to explore the full range of manuscript production that occurred from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries CE: from books produced under royal patronage, such as the Mamluk and Ilkhanid Qur’an manuscripts that are almost unmatched for splendour, opulence, and size in the history of the Islamic arts of the book, to simpler, less lavish manuscripts that are no less essential to increasing our understanding of Islamic codicology and palaeography.
The Conference will be organised around the Association's four key working areas: cataloguing, conservation, digitisation, and research and publishing; and papers falling into these broad categories will be included in the relevant panel. The Association will also consider submissions on topics that do not fall directly under the purviews of these areas but are yet concerned with scholarship on Islamic manuscripts or the care and management of Islamic manuscript collections.
This is invitation is open to members and non-members of the Association. The languages of the Conference will be Arabic and English, and submissions will be accepted in both languages.
The deadline for submissions is 0900 GMT on Monday, 22 October 2012.Late submissions will not be considered.
The duration of each conference paper is 30 minutes inclusive of 10 minutes of questions and answers. Please note that preference will be given to speakers who have not presented papers at the Association's previous conferences. All authors’ research and analysis should be sufficiently advanced that they can include concrete findings in their abstracts.
The Association will pay for round-trip economy class travel to Cambridge, accommodation in Magdalene College, and College-based meals for authors whose papers are accepted.
Please send an abstract of 250 words, a 250 word biographical statement, and the attached cover sheet to the Association’s executive committee at the following email, fax, or postal address:
The Islamic Manuscript Association Ltd
c/o 33 Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1QY
Fax: +44 1223 302 218
The Association’s selection committee will inform applicants of its decision by mid - November.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — The event will display a collection of Persian and Arabic manuscripts of the holy Qur’an which have been created by artists from Iran and a number of foreign countries.
Islamic countries and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member states have been invited to take part in the exhibition and Tunisia, Tanzania, Turkey, Pakistan and Zanzibar have announced their readiness so far.
Iranian artists have made some of the world’s most exquisite and unique Qar’anic creations which have been unveiled and showcased during national and international exhibitions.
The world’s first Qur’an etched in stone is one of such creations which will be unveiled during Ramadan.
Seyyed Hossein Pourrazavi has hewn the entire holy book with the naked eye over the past 31 months.
Iran also unveiled the world's most exquisite manuscript of the holy Qur'an in 2008.
The 600-page Qur'an was transcribed by prominent calligrapher, Zeinolabedin Qazvini, and was illuminated by some 35 artists during the reign of Fathali Shah (19th century king of the Qajar dynasty).
The book is adorned with 600 kinds of illuminations and it took the artists about two years to decorate the cover of the Qur'an with different colors and 24 types of gold.
Iran’s first international exhibition of Qur’anic manuscripts will be held during the holy month of Ramadan from July 21 to August 18, 2012.—www.shafaqna.com/english