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700 year-old masterpiece goes on show

Lavish illustrations from a book depicting key moments in medieval history are on display at the University.

The exhibition is in the Main Library and has been curated to celebrate the 700th anniversary of its production.

Detail from Rashid al-Din showing the Samanid king Al-Muntasir crossing the frozen river Jayhun (Syr Darya) in central Asia

Treasured artefacts

The World History of Rashid al-Din is one of the artistic marvels of the Islamic world.

It is generally considered the first illustrated history of the world and one of the University’s most treasured artefacts.

The manuscripts depict historical events from the Middle East India, China and Europe.

The World History of Rashid al-Din

The exhibition is open Monday-Saturday. Entry is free.Curated by Prince Alwaleed Centre and the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh.

Saturday 2 August 2014, 10.00am

Friday 31 October 2014, 6.00pm

Exhibition Gallery, Main University Library, 30 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ

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Find out more about the exhibition

First history of the world

Chronicling events up to 1314, the book was produced by physician and court historian Rashid al-Din in the city of Tabriz, situated in modern-day Iran.

Before his execution for treason in 1318, Rashid al-Din wrote that his aim was to create one of the world’s most important historical and artistic documents.

The World History is one of the most significant illustrated medieval manuscripts to have survived from the Islamic world. We are thrilled to offer visitors a unique chance to view the original illustrations.

Dr Yuka KadoiExhibition curator

The exhibition was curated in collaboration with the Centre for Research Collections and the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, both at the University.

Rashid al-Din’s masterpiece offers fascinating insight into historical and artistic movements of the time. As well as learning about global events in medieval history, visitors are sure to be impressed by the lavish illustrations and calligraphy.

Professor Hugh GoddardDirector of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre

Related Links

The Alwaleed Centre

Centre for Research Collections

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University