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Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan
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Leo Ridden by a Personification of the Sun
Al-Su˓ūdī, Maṭāli˓ al-sa˓āda wa manābi˓ al-siyāda (The Ascension of Propitious Stars and Sources of Sovereign), in Turkish. Turkey, probably Istanbul, ca. 1582, illuminated by Vali Jan for ˓Āyisha Sulṭān (d.1604), the daughter of Sultan Murād III.
205 x 119 mm.
Purchased in 1935.; MS M.788, fol. 15v.

This astrological illustration is one of twelve in the manuscript that depict the zodiacal signs and the three planets associated with their decades. Leo, the lion, ridden by a personification of the sun, is depicted within the roundel. The lords of the decades are shown in the arcades below: Saturn using a spade, Jupiter holding a book, and Mars holding a mace and severed head.

Natural History and Astrology
The miniatures presented here derive primarily from two extraordinary Islamic manuscripts that depict the natural world and the heavens. The first, Manāfi˓-i hayavān (The Benefits of Animals), is considered one of the ten greatest surviving Persian manuscripts. It dates from the reign of Ghazan Khan (1295–1304), the Mongol ruler who ordered a Persian translation of the book, and concerns the nature and medicinal properties of humans, animals, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. The other, Matāli˓ al-sa˓āda wa manābi˓ al-siyāda (The Ascension of Propitious Stars and Sources of Sovereign), was commissioned by Sultan Murād III (r. 1574–95), an Ottoman ruler deeply interested in astronomy, cosmology, demonology, poetry, and mysticism.


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