The training of elephants from court amusements and ceremonies.

Scenes of royal life were a popular subject for depiction in parabaik folding books at the Burmese court of Mandalay during the late nineteenth century. These openings show the training of hunting elephants and other mounted exercises.

A Sense of Identity | Courts and courtiers | Animals


Illuminated folio from The Canons of St. Basil.

This folio from a vellum codex contains the Coptic version in the Sahidic dialect of a collection of rules relating to church discipline ascribed to St Basil. Basil the Great (born c.300), bishop of Caesarea, was an important early theologian as well as one of the fathers of comm

A Sense of Identity | Basil, Saint, Bishop of Caesarea, approximately 329-379 | Religion


Scenes from a Noh play.

This painted scroll of Scenes from a Noh Play (Manzai no Tsutsumi emaki) dates to the Edo period and was created during the middle of the seventeenth century. Noh is a fourteenth-century form of theatre originally patronised by Japan’s samurai warrior class. It became a court en

A Sense of Identity | Arts | Theatre


Illuminated opening from a Qur'an.

This Qur'an is one of the great treasures of the Chester Beatty Library. It is important on a number of counts, but especially as it is a rare example of the work of Ibn al-Bawwab (d. 1022), one of three great medieval masters of Islamic calligraphy. Ibn al-Bawwab is espe

A Sense of Identity | Qur'an | Islamic calligraphy


Illuminated heading for Chapter 32 from a Qur'an.

Usually, an illuminated heading marks the beginning of each of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an. This one marks the start of chapter 32, which bears the title al-Sajda (The Prostration) and which deals with the mysteries of Creation, Time and the Final End.

A Sense of Identity | Qur'an | Creation (Islam)