Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pupil at Alpha Issa Kanta’s Koran school, with the wooden tablets on which verses of the Koran are copied in Arabic.

The Final report for the British Library's Endangered Archives Project no 269, published here in an abridged version, with the permission of the BL.

Djenné, the Unesco World Heritage listed town with its magnificent mud mosque was historically an important Sub- Saharan centre of learning and of commerce founded about a thousand years ago. The town has potentially as rich a deposit of Arabic Manuscripts as Timbuktu. Even today a tradition of copying Arabic text continues in the numerous Koran schools of Djenné, where young boys, (talibés) learn to write on wooden tablets. There are about fifty Koran schools in Djenné, and many of the Marabous, or the Koran Masters in charge of these Koran Schools, are owners of manuscripts which have often been handed down from father to son through many generations. Some of the texts in these MSS are intended to be read aloud at the Koran schools at collective readings during the Islamic year. The Djenné Manuscripts also include secular works, and many collections are kept in private homes not connected to Koran Schools.


Blogger Kim Hart said...

I look forward every lunch time to seeing if you have posted up anything new and was delighted to read all about the manuscript project. On the same sort of subject - conservation - there is a whole series of lectures coming up this month in London on mud architecture - I think the film is one shown before - but the lectures sound very interesting in light of the recent collapse of the mosque!
Dont know if this link will work:

1:29 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Hello Kim,
how good to hear from you. I wish I were in London for the lectures; but alas, I will still be in Africa! Sophie

4:24 PM  
Blogger David said...

Proud of you, you academic manquee you.Dxxx

8:15 AM  

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