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Manuscript and Rare Books


With more than 900 illuminated manuscripts, 1,250 of the first printed books (ca. 1455 - 1500), and an important collection of post-1500 deluxe editions, this extraordinary collection chronicles the art of the book over more than 1,000 years. The collection is from all over the world, and from ancient to modern times. It features deluxe Gospel books from Armenia, Ethiopia, Byzantium, and Ottonian Germany, French and Flemish books of hours, as well as masterpieces of Safavid, Mughal and Ottoman manuscript illumination. It also includes important first printed editions of ancient texts by great thinkers such as Aristotle and Euclid, diaries written by Napoleon and intricate bindings crafted by Tiffany. The early printed book collection highlights the experimental nature of the first attempts at printing. Some of these books have been illuminated by hand, and many are unique objects. 


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 L'Offrande Lyrique
L'Offrande Lyrique Title
1925 Period
92.1063 Accession
"Claricia" swinging on an initial "Q"
"Claricia" swinging on an initial "Q" Title
late 12th-early 13th century (Medieval) Period
W.26.64R Accession
"Father, the hour has come" (John 17:1)
"Father, the hour has come" (John 17:1) Title
1594-1596 (Ottoman) Period
W.535.58R Accession
goldleaf Tags
"Imperial" Menologion with Scenes of Martyrdom
"Imperial" Menologion with Scenes of Martyrdom Title
ca. 1025-1050 Period
W.521 Accession
"Look at the birds of the air" (Matthew 6:26)
"Look at the birds of the air" (Matthew 6:26) Title
1594-1596 (Ottoman) Period
W.535.82R Accession
'Ali Dust Taghayi Paying Homage to Babur
'Ali Dust Taghayi Paying Homage to Babur Title
10th century AH/AD 16th century (Mughal; Timurid) Period
W.596.9B Accession
'Ali Kills an Infidel who had Spat in his Face
'Ali Kills an Infidel who had Spat in his Face Title
1017 AH/AD 1609 (Safavid) Period
W.623.26A Accession
A Balsam Tree and an Oak Tree
A Balsam Tree and an Oak Tree Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.206A Accession
A Battle Scene
A Battle Scene Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.54A Accession
A Battle Scene
A Battle Scene Title
Folio: late 10th century AH/AD 16th century; Borders: 13th century AH/AD 19th century (Mughal) Period
W.683.A Accession
alexander Tags
A Battle Scene (Back)
A Battle Scene (Back) Title
Folio: late 10th century AH/AD 16th century; Borders: 13th century AH/AD 19th century (Mughal) Period
W.683.B Accession
A Bear and a Hay-weasel
A Bear and a Hay-weasel Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.101B Accession
A Bear and a Sleeping Man
A Bear and a Sleeping Man Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.79B Accession
A Bird Called Hadinat al-af'á (Viper’s Dry Nurse)
A Bird Called Hadinat al-af'á (Viper’s Dry Nurse) Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.120A Accession
A Bird Called Maka and a Vulture
A Bird Called Maka and a Vulture Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.137A Accession
A Bird Called Shafatin, a Green Magpie, and a Singing Bird
A Bird Called Shafatin, a Green Magpie, and a Singing Bird Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.130B Accession
A Bird Called Yura'ah (?) and a Turtle-dove
A Bird Called Yura'ah (?) and a Turtle-dove Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.138A Accession
A Boastful Jackal
A Boastful Jackal Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.110A Accession
A Boy Shoots an Arrow Through a Ring Placed on Top of a Dome and Claims It
A Boy Shoots an Arrow Through a Ring Placed on Top of a Dome and Claims It Title
10th century AH/AD 16th century (Safavid) Period
W.618.70B Accession
A Buffalo
A Buffalo Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.91B Accession
A Bull of the Sea
A Bull of the Sea Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.172B Accession
A Bustard
A Bustard Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.120B Accession
A Camel
A Camel Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.87B Accession
A Camel and Three Strange Single-handed and Single-legged Creatures
A Camel and Three Strange Single-handed and Single-legged Creatures Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.143A Accession
A Camel Being Presented to an Enthroned King
A Camel Being Presented to an Enthroned King Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.277A Accession
A Camphor Tree
A Camphor Tree Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.215A Accession
A Cat
A Cat Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.105A Accession
A Catalogue of Blue and White Nankin Porcelain Forming the Collection of Sir Henry Thompson
A Catalogue of Blue and White Nankin Porcelain Forming the Collection of Sir Henry Thompson Title
1878 Period
92.1090 Accession
A Charging Elephant
A Charging Elephant Title
early 11th century AH/AD 17th century (Mughal) Period
W.694.A Accession
A Charging Elephant (Back)
A Charging Elephant (Back) Title
early 11th century AH/AD 17th century (Mughal) Period
W.694.B Accession
A Cheetah
A Cheetah Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.107B Accession
A Chestnut Tree and a Sandal Tree
A Chestnut Tree and a Sandal Tree Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.211A Accession
A Christian Girl on Her Deathbed After Converting to Islam
A Christian Girl on Her Deathbed After Converting to Islam Title
1133 AH/AD 1721 (Ottoman) Period
W.666.35B Accession
A Church representing the Promised Land
A Church representing the Promised Land Title
1400-1404 (Medieval) Period
W.171.117V Accession
gothic, castle, w.171 Tags
A Citron Tree
A Citron Tree Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.204B Accession
A Colocynth Plant
A Colocynth Plant Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.230A Accession
A Colored Slave, Washed and Shaved, Stands in Front of the King
A Colored Slave, Washed and Shaved, Stands in Front of the King Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.66B Accession
A Court Scene
A Court Scene Title
1017 AH/AD 1609 (Safavid) Period
W.623.263B Accession
A Court Scene
A Court Scene Title
1017 AH/AD 1609 (Safavid) Period
W.623.268B Accession
A Court Scene with a Physician Feeling a Sick Woman's Pulse
A Court Scene with a Physician Feeling a Sick Woman's Pulse Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.3A Accession
A Court Scene with Food and Music
A Court Scene with Food and Music Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.100B Accession
food Tags
A Court Scene with Music, Dance, and Wine
A Court Scene with Music, Dance, and Wine Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.160B Accession
A Court Scene with Musicians and Dancers
A Court Scene with Musicians and Dancers Title
1073 AH/AD 1663 Period
W.626.53B Accession
A Court Scene with Timur and His Maiden From Khwarezm
A Court Scene with Timur and His Maiden From Khwarezm Title
10th century AH/AD 16th century (Safavid) Period
W.648.37A Accession
A Cow or a Bull
A Cow or a Bull Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.90A Accession
cow, bull, turkey, nature, life, fertility Tags
A Crane and a Heron (?)
A Crane and a Heron (?) Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.134B Accession
A Crocodile
A Crocodile Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.173A Accession
A Crow
A Crow Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.129B Accession
A Crow (Sitting on a Tree), a Rabbit, and a Cat
A Crow (Sitting on a Tree), a Rabbit, and a Cat Title
1121 AH/AD 1717 (Ottoman) Period
W.659.256A Accession
A Dervish Expressing His Devotion
A Dervish Expressing His Devotion Title
10th century AH/AD 16th century (Safavid) Period
W.621.39A Accession
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