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Book/Printed Material The Wonders of Creation.

About this Item


  • The Wonders of Creation.


  • Zakarīyā Ibn Muḥammad al-Qazwīnī (1203--83) spent most of his life in present-day Iran and Iraq and served as a judge in Wasit and Hilla, Iraq, during the reign of the last Abbasid caliph, Musta'sim (1240--58). Al-Qazwīnī was also a geographer and natural historian, and known for his encyclopedic knowledge. This work, Kitāb 'Ajā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing), probably was written in the sixth decade of the 13th century and is considered the most famous Islamic cosmography. The many manuscript copies show that for centuries it was one of the most popular books in the Islamic world. The present manuscript contains numerous schematic drawings of the planets and more than 400 miniatures and paintings. It was completed in 1280, three years before the author's death, and is the oldest known textual witness to the original work. The first part deals with the celestial world; the second part depicts the earthly world. The cosmography is based on the doctrine of the unity of God and the unity of the universe as divine creation. The portrayal of the angels, who appear unusually agile and vivid, deserves particular attention. The extraordinary use of color in the manuscript turns the angels into bright translucent creatures.


  • Qazwīnī, Zakarīyā ibn Muḥammad, circa 1203-1283 Author.

Created / Published

  • Wasit, Iraq : [publisher not identified], 1280.


  • -  1260 to 1280
  • -  Arabic manuscripts
  • -  Celestial bodies
  • -  Cosmography
  • -  Curiosities and wonders
  • -  Geography, Medieval
  • -  Miniatures (Illuminations)
  • -  Natural history
  • -  Planets
  • -  Science, Medieval
  • -  Zoology


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  "BSB shelfmark: 464"--Note extracted from World Digital Library.
  • -  Original resource extent: 213 sheets, paper : illustrations ; 30.5 x 20.5 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: Bavarian State Library.
  • -  Content in Arabic.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Arabic and Islamic Science and Its Influence on the Western Scientific Tradition: Astronomy

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021667228

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Qazwīnī, Zakarīyā Ibn Muḥammad, Circa Author. The Wonders of Creation. [Wasit, Iraq: publisher not identified, 1280] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Qazwīnī, Z. I. M. (1280) The Wonders of Creation. [Wasit, Iraq: publisher not identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Qazwīnī, Zakarīyā Ibn Muḥammad, Circa Author. The Wonders of Creation. [Wasit, Iraq: publisher not identified, 1280] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.