Malay illustrated manuscripts with a focus on images of magic and divination


About the webinar

Manuscripts are handwritten texts (prior to the advent of printing, books and documents had to be written and copied by hand). Malay manuscripts were written in a form of Arabic script known as Jawi. The texts contained in these manuscripts cover a broad range of topics such as religion, literature, legal codes, medicine and correspondence.

Apart from texts, manuscripts may also contain visual and artistic elements such as illustrations, diagrams and decoration. This lecture will look at illustrated Malay manuscripts, with a focus on those relating to the topic of magic and divination. These manuscripts are important for our understanding of Malay art, especially drawing and painting. They also provide us with an insight into life in Malay society in the past.

For more information on the webinar series, click here.

About the Speaker

Dr Farouk Yahya is a Research Associate in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts, SOAS University of London. His research interests include the Southeast Asian arts of the book, as well as texts and images relating to magic and divination. He was previously Leverhulme Research Assistant Islamic Art and Culture at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, where he assisted with the exhibition “Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural” (2016 – 2017) and curated the display “The Tale of Prince Vessantara” (2018). He is the author of Magic and Divination in Malay Illustrated Manuscripts (2016), editor of The Arts of Southeast Asia from the SOAS Collections (2017), and co-editor of Islamicate Occult Sciences in Theory and Practice (2021)


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Click on the unique link in your email.

If you have questions for the panellists, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the panellist during the Q&A session.


Sep 02 2021


2:00 pm - 3:30 pm