ISAAC BEN SOLOMON IBN SAHULA, MESHAL HA-QADMONI (THE FABLE OF THE ANCIENT)

Germany?, 1450, 11 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. (29.2 x 18.4 cm), MS. Opp. 154, fols. 49b–50a

Written in Spain c. 1281, this collection of tales in rhymed prose, with added didactic material, was designed to replace translated works, such as "Kalila and Dimna," with original Hebrew stories. It is thus part of the process by which Arabic genres were adapted to Jewish literature, enlarging its range. As was not uncommon at the time, the illustrations draw upon Christian models, and their high quality suggests an affluent, cultured audience.




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