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Kitab al-'Ilm al-muktasab fi zira'at adh-dhahab. Book of Knowledge Acquired Concerning the Cultivation of Gold.
Paris: Librairie Orientaliste, Paul Geuthner, 1923 - Octavo. Original printed light card wraps, fore- and bottom edges untrimmed. A little tanned, minor fraying head and tail of the spine, text toned, but an excellent copy of a fragile publication. Text in English and Arabic. First edition of this medieval Arabic work on alchemy, prepared by noted British historian of Islamic science Eric Holmyard (1891-1959) using the three manuscript copies of the work known to be extant, together with a manuscript of the Persian commentary by al-Jildaki. Almost nothing is known of al-'Iraqi other than that he was probably active in Mamluk Egypt or Syria during the reign of Sultan Baybars in the late 13th century, though his "'Cultivation of Gold' is valuable because it contains a clear account of the Muslim theory of transmutation, written by a man who realized the importance of experimental work Its main argument is that all metals differ from one another only by certain unessential properties which can be removed by suitable treatment. The metallic substance free from all such accidental and unessential properties is represented by gold. This theory was by no means universally supported by 'Arab' chemists. Thus Ibn Sina opposed it" (editor's introduction pp. 4-5). Scarce in commerce, this copy from the library of American Islamicist Nicholas Heer, with his ownership inscription dated "Stanford 1961" to the front free endpaper. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2015-10-05           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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