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Kitab fi marifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya by al-Jazari
Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices

Machine Pouring Wine

MS copied in Syria or Egypt in 1315 CE
Copied by Farrukh ibn Abd al-Latif

Source: David Collection Museum, Copenhagen. Inv. no. 20/1988
Miniature from a copy of al-Jazari’s Kitab fi marifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya. “Machine Pouring Wine”
Syria or Egypt; 1315
Leaf: 31.5 × 22 cm

The mechanical genius al-Jazari was in the service of the Artuqids in Diyarbakir when he finished his Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in around 1205. It contained descriptions of humanoid metal robots like this one, but also door handles and combination locks quite similar to examples in the David Collection (38/1973 and 1/1984).

The manuscript was copied in 1315, and although the costume with the tiraz band around the sleeves and the distinctive hat are in accordance with contemporary Muslim fashions, the style, as in so much other “Arab painting,” was influenced by the Christian painting tradition, as shown e.g. by the physiognomy, the halo, and the folds of the kirtle.

Back to the smaller image of this Machine Pouring Wine, after al-Jazari, Syria or Egypt, c. 1315AD. David Collection Museum, Copenhagen Inv. no. 20/1988.

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