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782 Arabic proverbs collected before 1817, with explanatory notes

BURCKHARDT, Johann Ludwig.
Arabic proverbs, or the manners and customs of the modern Egyptians, illustrated from their proverbial sayings current at Cairo, translated and explained ...
London, John Murray (colophon: printed by C. Roworth), 1830. Large 4to (28 x 22 cm). With a large folding engraved map of the Sinai, the Holy Land and parts of Egypt and Syria, showing Burckhardt's travels, and a few small woodcut illustrations in the text. Set in roman and italic type with the proverbs also in the original Arabic. Mid-19th-century half tan calf, spine with gold-tooled bands.
€ 8,000
First edition of a ground-breaking trove of 782 Arabic proverbs, published here in the original Arabic with English translations and (sometimes extensive) explanations of their meaning. Burckhardt took some from a collection assembled by the Egyptian scholar Shered ad-Din Ibn Assad, adding others "as he heard them quoted in general society or in the bázár ... Several Scriptural sayings and maxims of ancient sages will be found here naturalized among Arabs; as well as some Proverbs which have generally been supposed of European origin" (preface). This makes the present publication an essential primary source for Islamic, Egyptian and Arabic oral history, preserving popular proverbs collected before 1817.
The Swiss explorer, orientalist and archaeologist Burckhardt (1784-1817) travelled through Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Nubia and the Arabian Peninsula, and rediscovered the ancient city of Petra. Disguised as an Arab, he crossed the Red Sea to Jeddah under the name "Sheikh Ibrahim", passed an examination in Muslim law and participated in a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.
With bookplate. Endpapers browned, slightly affecting the title-page, last page and folding map, but otherwise in very good condition. Binding somewhat worn and scuffed, but structurally sound. An expert Arabist's annotated collection of Arabic sayings, giving insights into Arabic culture.
Gay 1963; Howgego, 1800-1850, B76.
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Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Greek & Non-Western Types
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Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabic Printing & Calligraphy