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Posted On: 25 November 2008 08:21 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Museum unveils books of secrets

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The launch of Museum of Islamic Art has made way for many of the Islamic artefacts, which were for years sheltered in different parts of the world to return back to the roots of the culture. These include valuable and preserved Egyptian, Spanish and Turkish scientific and mathematical manuscripts dating from the 11th, 13th and the 15th centuries. Among them is a priceless manuscript which is of Arab origin that had migrated from Spain to Italy and has now returned back to its own roots as an interactive digital version. The rare manuscript, The Book of Secrets about the Results of Thought copied in 1266 from an original dating back to the11th Century by the Andalusian engineer Ibn Khalaf Al Muradi, is preserved in Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Italy. The priceless manuscript includes descriptions and drawings of more than thirty ingenious devices including mechanical apparatuses, water clocks, automatic calendars and war machines. It is an extraordinarily important manuscript in the field of history of science, because it represents one of the earliest written and drawn testimonies about complex ancient machines and has never before been studied or divulged. H H the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani allowed the funding of an entire research group who after months of research has given exceptional results. The complexity of the manuscripts had made it difficult for many to interpret. Now, thanks to the Italian research center, Leonardo3 (L3), which applied the same techniques of study used to interpret inventions of the Renaissance period, the manuscript has been transcribed and translated to three different languages. Moreover all the machines have been interpreted and reconstructed. All the work that has been done so far is exhibited at the temporary exhibition at MIA. A digital and interactive reconstruction of the manuscript, explaining all its machines to the public using 3-D animated models through holographic touch screen is presented. Physically reconstructed models of two of the machines, the Clock with Three Characters and the Fortress Demolisher, are also exhibited. Using L3’s proprietary Digital Codex Technology, the manuscript comes to life. Visitors can explore this codex in high definition interactively by turning pages, zooming in the details, reading the texts and examining 3-D models of all the machines.