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Purchased with support from the Friends

As a Friend, you contribute to the acquisition, digitisation and restoration of important objects.

Whether it is a medieval music manuscript, a nineteenth-century album amicorum, a contemporary drawing or a complete collection of photographs, the contributions of the Friends are always directed towards special items.

Purchases by year can be found in the annual reports.

'...an absolutely rare find...'

Nadia Kreeft-Mishkovskyi, curator of Japanese and Korean manuscripts and ancient prints, was able to purchase a map of the Asamayama eruption with the support of the Friends.

'Acquisition of special pieces does not let itself be planned, as a find like this shows once again. This beautiful map of the 1783 eruption of Mount Asama, with notes in Japanese and Dutch, is an absolutely rare find outside Japan. The Dutch were not allowed to possess printed or drawn knowledge of current events, let alone natural disasters of unprecedented proportions that wiped out 27 villages and ushered a period of cold, crop failure, disease and starvation killing an estimated 920,000 people. 

Yet, this map managed to find its way to the Netherlands. We found the map at a small French auction. Thanks to the quick action of the Friends and their generous support, we managed to quickly raise enough funds, making it possible for students, researchers and visitors of Leiden University to admire and study this special item.'

'...one of the finest illuminated manuscripts of Ottoman culture...'

Arnoud Vrolijk, curator of Middle Eastern manuscripts and ancient prints, purchased a late Ottoman luxury manuscript with the help of the Friends.

'One of the Friends drew my attention to a beautiful Dala'il al-Khayrat manuscript, a small work in honor of the Prophet Muhammad, which her grandfather had brought from Turkey in 1936. Thanks to the support of the Friends, we were able to acquire this gem for the Leiden Middle Eastern Collections. The original text was written in the fifteenth century by the Moroccan mystic Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli, and is still widely read and recited. The acquired manuscript was written in 1842 and is among the finest illuminated manuscripts in Ottoman culture.'

'A feature of the Dala'il al-Khayrat manuscripts is the detailed depiction of the Haramayn, the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina and Islam's holiest shrines. Another special illustration shows the Prophet Muhammad's paraphernalia: his banner, walking stick, toothbrush, cloak, rosary and sandals. Because these objects are too sacred to be depicted in a naturalistic manner, they are all rendered in minute script that forms a sura of the Koran.'

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