The World History of Rashid al-Din, 1314

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About the Exhibition

Opening: 2nd August 2014 | Where: Exhibition Gallery, Main Library, George Square | Closing: 31st October 2014 | Curated by: Dr Yuka Kadoi, Postdoctoral Fellow at The Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World

This festival exhibition highlights the Jami' al-Tawarikh (World History or Compendium of Chronicles) of Rashid al-Din, one of the masterpieces of medieval Islamic manuscripts. Celebrating the 700th anniversary of its production (1314/2014), the exhibition features approximately 15 folios from Edinburgh University Library’s manuscript (Or.MS.20). Curated and organised in collaboration with the Centre for Research Collections and the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, both at the University of Edinburgh.

Arguably the greatest treasure in the library, the Jami’ al-Tawarikh is a world history which encompasses a range of cultures, from China in the East, to Ireland in the West, from the time of Adam. It is written in the Naskh script and contains 70 illustrated folios. Written by the scholar and courtier Rashid al-Din (d.1318), there is some debate as to the exact date of this manuscript, but it was almost certainly completed within the author’s lifetime, making it one of the earliest copies in existence. It is one of the three main sources for the life of Genghis Khan and is considered to be one of the most important medieval documents in the world.


 High resolution images of all of the pages in the LUNA imaging platform.

 The full book, using LUNA's page-turning software.

 The time lapse film by the Digital Imaging Unit of the Exhibition installation on Vimeo.