“Muhammad crushed for al-Rashid four thousand mithqãls of musk…” from the Book of Gifts & Rarities

Faraj b. ‘Umar b.Faraj al-Rukkhaji said, “Muhammad b. Yabyã b. Khalid invited al-Rashid bi-Allãh to his residence. Muhammad was very niggardly, but he spent sixteen million dinars on the occasion. Danãnir, the slave girl of the Barmakids, suggested to Muhammad that he shoud sprinkle musk on everything in the house, even on the aromatic plants of the garden, so that al-Rashid would not touch anything but perfume or inhale anything except scents, because he had piles. Hence, Muhammad crushed for al-Rashid four thousand mithqãls of musk, with which he perfumed these places”.

From the Book of Gifts and Rarities—Selections Compiled in the Fifteenth Century from an Eleventh-Century Manuscript on Gifts and Treasures, translated from the Arabic by Ghãda al-Hijjãwi al-Qaddumi, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1996, p.125.

These extracts appear as a lead-up to Materiality No. 3: Precious. Submissions for issue #3 are due on 30 September 2013. Issue #2 (Time) is due out at the end of July. To purchase previous copies of Materiality, please visit the pinknantucket press shop.