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Digitizing Timbuktu

The Brown University Library received a unique donation in 2014 from the Yattara family of Atlanta (by way of Timbuktu, Mali) of an enigmatic Arabic manuscript. After initial study this item, consisting of some 150+ folio pages contained in a loose, tooled, leather binding, was revealed to comprise several related, yet distinct, treatises on various topics concerning magic, numerology and other mystical sciences. Evidence suggests its production in this fabled West African center of scholarship and learning some time during the mid-19th century. This project provides access to digital imaging of the manuscript as well as treatise and page level metadata to assist in exploring and further understanding both the text and illustrations that comprise this work. The goal is to encourage further scholarship that utilizes this fascinating glimpse into the social life and intellectual culture of Timbuktu society.

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