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Routes of Translation: Connected Book Histories and al-Jazari’s Robotic Wonders from the Mamluks to Mandu

Gupta, Vivek; (2024) Routes of Translation: Connected Book Histories and al-Jazari’s Robotic Wonders from the Mamluks to Mandu. South Asian Studies , 39 (2) pp. 207-228. 10.1080/02666030.2023.2287840. Green open access

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Abstract

Over the course of the long fifteenth century, scholars and books moved across regions and spurred transcreations of numerous Islamicate manuscripts in South Asia. This essay undertakes a close reading of an early sixteenth-century Persian transcreation—that is, a translation in both form and content—of a twelfth-century Arabic compendium on mechanical devices. I examine what the historical event of translation in the South Asian region of Malwa and town of Mandu meant as it is read amidst cultural flows between Mamluk Egypt, Yemen, Mecca, and Hindustan. By analyzing the colophons of early Arabic copies of al-Jazari’s Compendium of Theory and Useful Practice for the Fabrication of Machines along with Da’ud Shadiyabadi’s Wonders of Mechanics in Persian, this study demonstrates how Shadiyabadi’s translation distances itself from al-Jazari’s book. As Shadiyabadi’s Wonders of Mechanics becomes the standard Persian translation of al-Jazari—appearing in subsequent Mughal and Iranian copies—the work of a scholar from a small North-Central Indian court links scholars, sultanates, and regions.

Type: Article
Title: Routes of Translation: Connected Book Histories and al-Jazari’s Robotic Wonders from the Mamluks to Mandu
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02666030.2023.2287840
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/02666030.2023.2287840
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Keywords: Translation, manuscript studies, transregional, Malwa, connected histories, al-Jazaria, utomata
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10189762
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