Letter: T-S 13J15.19

Letter T-S 13J15.19

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Description

Letter from Marduk b. Musa, Alexandria, to Nahray b. Nissim, Fustat, about a shipment of yarn from Fustat to Alexandria. Marduk notes that a baqyar (large-sized turban) 25 cubits long was made for Nahray, along with a bolt of cloth 20 cubits long. He further reports that ‘Atiyya b. Shammāʿ brought him a blue kerchief containing cotton, [linen] yarn and unraveled flax, which would be combined with yarn previously sent — and currently in the hands of the artisan — to produce another cloth, but that since the yarns were of different qualities, it didn't bleach well. The letter reveals the importance of Alexandria as a center of textile weaving: in this case, yarn and other raw materials (e.g., combed flax—kattān manfūsh) were sent from Fustat to Alexandria for processing into finished products. The length of Nahray's turban, 25 cubits, is noteworthy and confirms the importance of this item of headgear as a symbol of status. Another interesting detail is the process of bargaining with artisans: the price for certain work is fixed, and as the work proceeds, attempts are made to bargain down the price at various stages; this continues even after the work has been completed. The processes connected with weaving that are either mentioned or implied in this letter are: a) ghazl: spinning b) ḥall al-ghazl: unravelling the yarn c) tasfiya: bleaching d) tabyīḍ; whitening (re: flax and linen) e) qasr: fulling/cleaning of woven material (Information from Med. Soc., 1:90, 105, 125, 379, 412, 418, 429; 4:159, 179, 398, 409; Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders, 134; and from Udovitch's commentary to his unpublished translations.) EMS/MR

T-S 13J15.19 1r

1r

Transcription

S. D. Goitein, unpublished editions.

Recto

  1. כתאבי אטאל אללה בקא מולאי אלחבר גדול הישיבה אטאל אללה
  2. בקאה ואדאם עזה ותאיידה וסעאדתה ונעמתה וח[רסאתה]
  3. וכבת אעדאה מן אלאסכנדריה ליומין בקין מן תמוז כתמה אללה
  4. עלינא ועליך באחסן כאתמה וען חאל סלאמה ועאפיה ושוק
  5. אליך וקרב אללה אלאגתמאע עלי אפצל אלאחואל במנה וברכתה
  6. אעלם מולאי אן קד תקדמת כתבי אליך ואעלמתה במא פעלת
  7. פי אלגזל ואן עמלת לה בקיאר טול כה דראע ושקה טול כ'
  8. דראע וקד אכדת מן עואץ לא דרהם וזנת מנהא ללצאנע חק
  9. אלשקה ואלבקיאר וחק חל אלגזל ד' דרא וקד כאסרת אלצאנע מן בעד
  10. מא עמלהם ג' דה אנא וזנהם ענך ללמצפי ולמא כאן בעד
  11. דלך וצל עטיה בן שמאע וגאב לי מעה כרקה זרקה פיהא קטן
  12. וגזל וכתאן מנפוש ווזנת אל אלכתאן אלמנפוש גא יא וקיה ואנא
  13. אסתגזלה לך מן חסאב נצף אלוקיה וקד אעלמתך אן קד בקי לך מן אלגזל
  14. רטל ורבע מצרי נפאה אלצאנע ואנא אגמע לך אלכל ואצלחה
  15. שקה אכרי וקד אעלמתך פי חדית אלמלחפה אן קד כאן כתאנהא
  16. מכתלף מא כאן תבייצה ואחד וגא פיהא סמורה פאן רדת
  17. תצפיהא ותקצרהא תעלמני פי כתאבך או אנפדהא לך כמא הי

Recto - right margin

  1. וקד ואקפת
  2. אלדי עמלהא
  3. כב קיב רגעת
  4. כאסרתה בקירטין
  5. וחטתה מן בעד
  6. אל קירטין דרהמין
  7. ונצף דרהם
  8. ונצף וזנתה
  9. ען חל אלגזל
  10. ודרהם חריר
  11. גא אגרתהא
  12. לז דרהם ונצף
  13. וקד בקי לך
  14. מן אלקטן ל'
  15. דרהם הו כמא
  16. הו קאעד
  17. וקד כאן
  18. סאלת מולאי

Recto - top margin

  1. פי אכד אלתוב
  2. אלטברי ואן
  3. יאכד אלתמן
  4. מן ענד
  5. אבו יוסף
  6. פאן לם יאכד
  7. מולאי מנה
  8. שי ואלא
  9. תעלמני
  10. פי כתאבך
  11. תכתץ רוחך
  12. באפצל
  13. אלסלאם

Translation

A. L. Udovitch and Marina Rustow, Unpublished translations.

Recto

  1. I am writing — may God lengthen the existence of my lord the ḥaver, the illustrious member of the yeshiva, may God lengthen
  2. his existence and make eternal his glory, support, happiness, benefaction and protection
  3. and smite your enemies — from Alexandria, with two days left in Tammuz — may God conclude it
  4. for us and for you in the most favorable manner — in a state of good health and wellbeing, but longing
  5. for you, may God in his kindness and blessing bring near the time of our meeting in the best of cir­cumstances.
  6. I inform my lord that I previously sent to you some letters in which I informed you of what I did
  7. with respect to the yarn (ghazl). I have had it made for you into a large turban, 25 cubits long, and into a bolt of cloth (shuqqa) 20
  8. cubits long. I received 31 dirhams from ʿAwwāḍ, which I paid to the artisan for
  9. the bolt of cloth and the large turban. I also paid 4 dirhams for the unravelling of the yarn. After he had completed the work,
  10. I succeeded in getting the craftsmen to reduce the price by 3 dirhams.  I will use this sum to pay the bleacher (muṣaffī). After
  11. this had transpired, ʿAṭiya b. Shammāʿ arrived carrying with him a blue wrapping cloth (khirqa) that contained cotton,
  12. yarn and combed flax (kattān manfūsh). I weighed the combed flax and it came to 11 ʿuqiyya. I
  13. will have this spun for you at the cost of one-half an ʿuqiyya (i.e., I will pay the spinner 1/2 ʿuqiyya for his labor, instead of paying him in cash). I have already informed you that there still remains
  14. one and one-quarter raṭl miṣrī of your yarn that was not used by the artisan. I will collect all (the remaining yarn) for you and prepare it (for the weaving)
  15. of another bolt of cloth. I have also informed you of the circumstances concerning the cloak (milḥafa). The flax from which it was woven
  16. was of dif­ferent qualities, and consequently its "whitening" (tabyīḍ) was not uniform and it has a brown coloring. If you wish
  17. to have it bleached and fulled, please inform me accordingly in your next letter; otherwise, I can send it to you as it is.

Recto - right margin

  1. I had reached an agreement with
  2. the (artisan) who wove (the cloak that he would do this for)
  3. 22 qirat and I subsequently
  4. received an additional discount of two qīrāṭs.
  5. I then paid him, in addition
  6. to the two qīrāṭs, two
  7. and a half dirhams
  8. and paid half a dirham
  9. for the unravelling of the yarn
  10. and for a dirham-weight of silk. 
  11. His (total) fee came to
  12. 37 and a half dirhams.
  13. There remain to you
  14. thirty dirham-weights of the cotton
  15. as they are,
  16. untouched.
  17. I asked
  18. you, my lord,

Recto - top margin

  1. about the delivery of the
  2. Ṭabarī cloak and requested
  3. that you get its price
  4. from
  5. Abū Yūsuf.
  6. Whether, my lord, you have col­lected 
  7. anything from it
  8. or not,
  9. let me know
  10. in your letter.
  11. I send you
  12. my best
  13. regards.

T-S 13J15.19 1v

1v

verso

  1. ורבי נסים אחיאה אללה אלסלאם וסידי אבו יוסף יעקוב אלאטראבלסי ואכוה אלסלאם
  2. ואנא מוסי בן מרדוך אכצך באפצל אלסלאם ורבי נסים אלסלאם וחסבי אללה

Verso - address

מולאי אלחבר רבי נהראי בן נסים נע שאכר תפצלה מרדוך בן מוסי

[אט]אל אללה בקאה ואדאם עזה ונעמתה

Verso

  1. Greeting to R. Nissim, may God grant him life; and to my lord Abū Yūsuf al-Ṭarabulusī and his brother.
  2. I, Mardūk b. Mūsā, send special greetings to you and to R. Nissim. God is my sufficiency.

Verso - address

  1. To my lord the ḥaver R. Nahray b. Nissim,
  2. may God prolong his life and make his glory and benefaction eternal.
  3. From the one who is grateful for his kindness, Marduk b. Musa.
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