The Maq?m?t of al-Har?r? (d.516/122) is one of the best-known works of Arabic literature. Why and how did this impenetrable work of Mediaeval Arabic philology and linguistic acrobatics dressed up as a collection of picaresque tales, become the vehicle for such extraordinarily lively, life-like and technically competent paintings. This study of the Schefer Maq?m?t manuscript looks at the work of the scribe-illustrator, Yahy? ibn Mahm?d al-W?sit? in detail. The author also suggests how the text is related to the illustrations and how it developed and altered over the centuries.
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