Discover the Book of Wonders

Kitab al-Bulhan: The Book of Wonders

An important Arab grimoire dated to the late 14th or early 15th Century in Baghdad. It is very unusual among medieval Arab manuscripts in that it contains several interesting color illustrations depicting everything from the Lighthouse of Alexandria to Demons and Jinn. The Kitab al Bulhan includes techniques of geomancy and magical astrological techniques.

The author, ʿAbd al-Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn ʿAli ibn al-Hasan al-Isfahani,’ who was born in Isfahan in Iran where he was trained in the physics of Aristotle. Like so many popular medieval books, the Kitab al-Bulhan seems to have been copied and ‘hacked’ many times, with various versions featuring new and different artwork, and a variety of new sections. Later versions contained substantial passages from the Neoplatonic astrological grimoire Kitab al Mawalid, by Abu Ma’shar al-Balkh.

Images from the Kitab al-Bulhan the “Book of Wonders”, Baghdad late 14th early 15th Century:

“Waq Waq Tree”

“The evil Jinn Iblis, (Arabic: إبليس‎‎, from the Arabic بَلَسَ balasa, “he despaired”) known as ‘father of bitterness.’ He was raised by Angels but was cast out when he refused to honor Adam. He only eats unhallowed food, is associated with the baths, with the market, and the junctures of roads. He lives in a huge palace floating in the sea with 1,000 guards.”

“Capricorn, or al-Gadī”

“Zawba‘ah, (Arabic: ابا النور الابيض زوبعة ‘Cyclone, father of the Handsome’) the demon king of Friday and the planet Venus. Considered one of the seven Jinn kings, he is monitored by the angel Anael. He is considered both a Jinn and a Div. He is the son of the goddess al-‘Uzza.”

“The Evil Jinn Barqan, (Arabic: برقان ابو العجائب ‘Two Lightnings, father of Wonders’ and ‘The gleaming’) who is King of Wednesday and the planet Mercury. Listed as one of the seven Jinn kings, Barqan is said to ‘worship the fire and not the omnipotent Sire’. Barqan favors the metal brass and the color blue, and is lord of the city of Carnelian and the Castle of Gold. He is monitored by the angel Michael. Barqan appears in the Arabian Nights where he had encounters with Sinbad.”

If you are so reckless as to wish to consult Barqan he is said to answer questions here.

“Astrological geomantic figure”
“The constellation Pisces”
“The constellation Scorpio”

“The Jinn Samhuras aka Shamhurish, (Arabic: ابا الوليد شمهورش ‘Shemhuresh, father of the New Born’, ‘The white’) king of Thursday and of the planet Jupiter. Listed as one of the Seven Jinn kings, he is constrained by the angel Zadkiel or Sarfya’il. Also known as al-Tayyar.  He is considered a saint of civil servants and ministers, and there is a still-extant mausoleum said to contain his remains in the Atlas mountains in Morocco, where some people actively worship him, and others come from distant lands to pay him homage. Note the magic square depicted in the image above him and to the left. He is said to prefer green and white fabric.”

“The Jinn Maymūn, also known as ‘Maymon Rex’ by European practitioners, (Arabic: ميمون أبانوخ ‘Prosperous, father of Rest’, also known as ‘Maymun of the clouds’, ‘The black one’ and ‘The executioner’ and ‘Lucky’) was the King of Saturday and the day of Saturn. Listed as one of the Seven Jinn Kings, he is constrained by the angel Cassiel. Though he was associated with the plague, he was (and perhaps still is) considered a Jinn saint by some people.”