Ritika Sharma / Emirates Business
Nestled in the hustle-bustle of the ongoing Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), a wood-designed pavilion hogged much of the limelight with the superlatives of rare books collected from across the globe.
From the first edition of the first scientific description of ancient and modern Egypt, to the only surviving leaflet of one of the earliest Qurans, the Antiquariaat Forum (Netherlands) and Antiquariat Inlibris Gilhofer Nfg. GnbH (Austria), this pavilion remained the center of curiosity among the visitors of all the age-groups.
On display at the pavilion are historically preserved hand-written prints of academic and cultural books on various interesting Arabic subjects like falconry, horseracing, medicine and education.
Besides there are rare pictures, documents and various works that were put on paper form 15th century to late 19th century. However, the huge book on Egypt history, also one of the most expensive rare books in the world, Description De L’Egypte, saw tens of hundreds of admirers during the fair.
Lurenns R. Hesselink, a representative of Antiquariaat Forum, who came down from Houten, Netherlands, to participate in the 26th edition of ADIBF, told Emirates Business, “This first edition of the first scientific description of Egypt is one of the most important and ambitious publication projects undertaken by the French state. Work was started on this book in 1803 and it took more than 20 years for the completion. Including 844 large engrave plates; it is considered one of the greatest achievements of French State in publishing sector so far. The present cost of the book is around €850,000.”
Another point of attraction at the pavilion was ‘Anciennes Relations Des Indies ET De La Chine’ – the first translation of an Arabic account of China and India written way back in 1851.
“This is one of the rarest books we have. It is the first edition in any language, translated into French from original Arabic, of one of the earliest surviving accounts of India, South Asia and China. It is our most important source for early Islamic Trade in Asia,” Lauren added as he held the book and pointed towards the word ‘Arabia’ written in one of the pages.
“It is a good place to be. You can know the time since when people have been writing books. This is a documentation of history, that we all must be aware of,” said Shaheeda
Akbari, a mother of two, who was visiting the fair with her