Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy

Lectures & Editorials on Calligraphy

The House of Wisdom, Baghdad

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Named after the great Abbasid dynasty library established in 832 and destroyed in the last invasion of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258, the House of Wisdom had been installed in 1995 in one of the few surviving 13th century Abbasid structures in Baghdad. This building was the site of the first Iraqi parliament. The institution had a small collection of 100 manuscripts but these included a 9th century Koran and an Ibn Sina text of philosophy. The institution possessed a 5,500-volume set of documents from the British foreign office, US congressional documents concerning the 1940 coup in Iraq, a number of documents concerning the Jewish community in Baghdad, as well as Ottoman property registrations and court documents. Although these collections were all copies, the originals were held in the National Library and may have burnt.

On April 11, the facilities were looted. An Ottoman costume exhibit was looted in addition to furniture and moveable parts of the building. The looters retuned the next day, stealing the library’s most valuable manuscripts and books. The facility was then torched. Witness have reported that the arsonists \”were instigated,\” according to Al-Tikriti’s report, which does not indicate by whom. Books from the collection have been seen for sale on the streets of Baghdad.



Written by calligrapher

October 14, 2006 at 12:59 pm

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