De Arte Venandi Cum Avibus by Fredericus II
Sharjah - Arab Today
“Sharjah is special because the Ruler of Sharjah is a book lover. That is why everybody is coming to the book fair,” reflects Paul Struzl, who started attending the SIBF five years ago. His company Adeva, of which he is a third-generation owner, is based in Vienna and makes facsimiles, or reproductions, of rare and ancient books such as the Golden Koran, and An Imperial Book on the Art of Falconry, written in 1260 by Emperor Friedrich II.
When visitors to the book fair ask Struzl about purchasing original copies, Struzl educates them about legal constraints. Most original copies are national treasures of their country of origin, and are not for sale. The precise ‘facsimiles’ made in Austria are the next best thing.
For serious bibliophiles and falconry hobbyists alike, An Imperial Book on the Art of Falconry is a rare find with 900 illustrations of a variety of birds. Priced at 23,000 AED, a few copies have sold so far this year. For those who find this price too steep, there are also smaller versions of the book.
Reproducing these delicate artifacts usually takes about one year. Each step in the process is challenging, starting with gaining access to an original copy. Then, each page is photographed from a variety of angles to capture inlaid gold or silver threading. “It’s all about the lighting,” Struzl says, as he greets the next visitor to his unique stall.