Camphor in the Qur’ān

Barus and βαροῦσαι

Fig. 1 — βαροῦσαι (black box), probably Barus in Sumatra, said to have been home to cannibals (ἀνθρωποφᾰ́γους, red box — accusative of ἀνθρωποφᾰ́γοι ‘human eaters’). From a c.1300 CE copy of Ptolemy’s Geographia. Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Urb.Gr.82, f.57va.
Fig. 2 — The map of Barus that I used in the earlier post on camphor in medieval German gunpowder.

Camphor

Fig. 3 — “Kapur Barus di na cupu”, ‘Barus camphor in the lidded box’ — a line in the fifteenth-century Old Sundanese poem Bujangga Manik. “Cupu” here is a loanword from Tamil செப்பு (ceppu), incidentally. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Jav. b.3. (R), f.10r.

*kapuR

Camphor Beyond Southeast Asia and India

Fig. 4— The word ⟨kprwh⟩ in Ancient Letter VI from Dunhuang watch tower T.XII.a. This isn’t the spelling usually found in Sogdian texts (it’s typically ⟨kp’wr⟩) but this is nonetheless normally interpreted as a reference to camphor (as in de la Vaissiѐre 2005:51). London, British Library, Or. 8212/97 (1c). The digitised manuscript can be found on the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) website.
Fig. 5— Camphor — Middle Persian kāpūr ⟨kᵓp̄wl⟩ (MacKenzie 1971:49 sub kāpūr) — in Anklesaria’s facsimile of TD2, a sixteenth-century manuscript of the Greater Bundahišn (1908:118, line 7).
Fig. 6 — A ninth-century copy of a charter of Chilperic II, King of Neustria, dated 716 CE, granting Corbie Abbey the right to import a number of commodities tax-free. The list includes cloves from eastern Indonesia — lines 6–7 from the top: ⟨· cariofi-le · liƀ. ij ·⟩. Note also the references to cumin, cinnamon, spikenard, and others. Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Phill. Ms. 1776, f.124v. h/t to Mateusz Fafinski (Mat Fafinski) for this image.

Camphor in the Qur’ān

Fig. 7— A page containing surāt al-Insān from an eighth-century manuscript of the Qur’ān. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Arabe 324c, f.39v.
Fig. 8— The word ‘camphor’ (كفودا for كَافُورًا) in an eighth-century manuscript of the Qur’ān. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Arabe 324c, f.39v, line 9.
Fig. 9 — The word ‘camphor’ َ⟨كَافُورًا⟩ in a nineteenth-century Qur’ān manuscript from Kelantan or Patani. London, British Library, Or. 15227, f.291v.

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Posting about ancient and medieval Indonesia, up to ~1500 CE. Mainly into 14th & 15th century stuff, but earlier is fine too.

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Medieval Indonesia

Medieval Indonesia

Posting about ancient and medieval Indonesia, up to ~1500 CE. Mainly into 14th & 15th century stuff, but earlier is fine too.

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