Persian tile of about 1800 (as illustration only)



Ann: Kitab fihi na’t al Hayawan (before 1000) mss from Tunis


Taken from: Arab painting: Text and Image in illustrated Arabic Manuscripts by Anna Contadini.


Description of the giraffe:

The Philosopher says that we have to know that in the nature (khalq) of this animal there is an amazing miracle. It is composed of two different substances (jawharatayni) between the nature of the panther (lacuna?) and his nature is something amazing. They said that close to the south, in the lowest part of the earth, in the summer many beasts of prey and wild animals gather together at watering places in the summer heat, especially when it is very hot and they are very thirsty. Sometimes they mate (MS yusāfirūna, *yusāfidūna) there when they gather at the waters, for these are murky (arq). The young of those that succeed in mating with females are animal species of the like of the giraffe and such. It is in the nature of the giraffe that its body (MS: jayyid, *jasad) is like that of a camel,35 its muzzle like that of the camel (MS jamal), its skin like that of the panther and its head like that of the deer (MS ibil; *ayyil), and that it has hooves and ears and horns, and it has a tail like the tail of a gazelle and teeth like that of a cow; and that it has long forelegs and short hind legs that are bent backwards. Its forelegs have knees, and its hinds legs have nothing. The spots on its skin are a clear shining black, and its appearance is to the onlooker very amazing. It is said that eating giraffe makes the heart strong and increases heat and irascibility (al-hidda). It has no gall (mardrd) and it (MS hyh; *hiya) lacks the gallbladder. Its meat is very cold and dry because it is composed of two different natures.