Folio from an Arabic translation of De Materia Medica by Dioscorides (ca. 40-90 C.E.); verso: Two physicians preparing medicine; recto: text

citation

Detached folio from an Arabic translation of De materia medica by Pedanius Dioscorides; text: Arabic in black and red naskh script; recto: text, one column, 13 lines; verso: illustration and text, Two physicians preparing medicine, one column, 7 lines; one of a group of 9 folios.

Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Abdallah ibn al-Fadl
Author: Pedanius Dioscorides (died 90 CE)
Historical period(s)
Abbasid period, 1224 (621 A.H.)
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 24.6 x 33.1 cm (9 11/16 x 13 1/16 in)
Geography
Iraq, Probably Baghdad
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1932.20
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
Abbasid period (750 - 1258), De Materia Medica, Iraq, medicine, naskh script
Provenance

Fredrik Robert Martin (1868-1933) [1]

To 1932
H. Sevadjian, Paris to 1932 [2]

From 1932
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from H. Sevadjian, Paris in 1932 through K. Minassian [3]

Notes:

[1] Object file, undated folder sheet note. See also Martin, F.R. The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India and Turkey, London, 1912; vol. I.

[2] Object file, undated folder sheet note. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s)

H. Sevadjian
Fredrik Robert Martin 1868 - 1933

Description

Detached folio from an Arabic translation of De materia medica by Pedanius Dioscorides; text: Arabic in black and red naskh script; recto: text, one column, 13 lines; verso: illustration and text, Two physicians preparing medicine, one column, 7 lines; one of a group of 9 folios.

Label

One of the earliest extant, illustrated texts from the Islamic world is the Arabic translation of the Materia Medica. It was compiled by the Greek physician Dioscorides, a soldier in the Roman army who studied the flora of Asia Minor while in service. Divided into five sections, the text describes the medicinal uses of some five hundred plants, and it became the foundation for pharmacology in the Near East and later in medieval Europe.

Arabic copies of the Materia Medica are particularly noteworthy for their illustrations. In the absence of detailed physical descriptions of the plants, artists added their own pictorial interpretations. This image, originally part of a thirteenth-century copy of the text, depicts a physician and his attendant in an abstracted interior with contemporary furnishings and props. The composition relates to a passage about the preparation of an antidote for the sting of a venomous spider.

Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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