Writing Cultures - Manuscripts from Georgia
The exhibition presents a fine selection of the rich Arabic and unique Georgian writing heritage safeguarded by the National Centre of Manuscripts and the National Library of Georgia. Convened in cooperation between the Embassy of Georgia and the Qatar National Library, the exhibition features enlarged reproductions of outstanding manuscripts dating from the 10th to the early 20th century AD. They bear testimony to scholarly, scientific, and artistic creativity and tradition across centuries and cultures, bringing to life Georgia’s manifold relations at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
The manuscripts offer a longitudinal view of Arabic and Georgian works in various branches of knowledge. They range from 10th century Quran fragments, theological commentaries, and medieval illuminated gospel manuscripts to juridical treatises in Arabic and legal deeds issued by Georgian kings. The works encompass 19th and 20th century Caucasian historiography written in Arabic, at the time still a lingua franca among the learned in the Northern Caucasus. Literature and poetry writings are on display, including the important epic Knight in the Panther’s Skin by Georgia’s great 12th century poet Shota Rustaveli. In medicine, Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine, widely in use in Europe until the 16th century, is shown along the Book of Healing by Zaza Panaskerteli, a Georgian 15th century scholar whose work relates to Georgia’s own Greco-Roman heritage.