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Type of Item
Report on the Different Masses of Iron, Found in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes
Mariano Eduardo de Rivero y Ustáriz (1798–1857) was a Peruvian scientist, geologist, mineralogist, chemist, archaeologist, politician, and diplomat. After schooling in Arequipa, he was sent in 1810 at age 12 to London to study mathematics, physics, and languages. In 1817 he traveled to France to the École royale des mines de Paris to study mineralogy and chemistry. In France he met Joseph Louis Proust, Gay-Lussac, and Alexander von Humboldt. The latter became his mentor and, during the course of his travels in Europe, Rivero discovered a new iron-oxalate that ...
General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún: The Florentine Codex. Book XI: Natural Things
Historia general de las cosas de nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. Commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, the manuscript consists of 12 books devoted to different topics. Book XI, the longest in the codex, is a treatise on natural history. Following the traditional division ...
Historia Plantarum (On plants) is a natural science encyclopedia, in which animals, plants, and minerals are illustrated and described for their medicinal properties, in keeping with the medieval tradition of the tacuina medievali (medieval health handbooks), and from which the codex derives its most common name, Tacuinum sanitatis. The work was first compiled as Taqwim al-Sihhah (The maintenance of health) by the 11th-century Baghdad physician Ibn Buṭlān, and chief among his Greek sources was Dioscorides, a physician in the first century. The court in Sicily commissioned a Latin translation in ...
Book of Royal Gemstones
This work, by Abu al-‛Abbās Ahmad b. Yūsuf al-Qaysī al-Tīfāshī, a 13th-century writer and mineralogist who was born in Tunisia and worked in Egypt, describes precious gems found in the treasuries of kings and rulers. The author lists 25 gemstones and dedicates a chapter to each. They include the ruby (yāqūt), emerald (zumurrud), topaz (zabarjad), diamond (almās), turquoise (fīrūzaj), magnetite (maghnātīs), agate (‛aqīq), lapis lazuli (lāzward), coral (marjān), and quartz (talq). In each chapter, the author discusses the causes of the gemstone’s formation, provenance, criteria for appraisal of ...
The Book on the Properties of Precious Gems
The title page identifies this manuscript as a copy of Kitab khawas al-jawāhir (The book on the properties of precious gems), written by Yaqūb ibn Ishāq al-Kindī in the ninth century. The work has 25 chapters, which are titled “On the knowledge of gems in general,” “On knowledge of rubies,” “On knowledge of emeralds,” “On knowledge of lapis,” and so forth. Each of these chapters gives basic information about these precious stones and their properties, as understood at the time. Information on the pricing of gems and the location of ...
The Full Moon and its Illumination of the Operations of the Sun and the Moon
The author or compiler of this manuscript, Alī ibn Sālim ibn Muhammad, introduces himself as a student of Dāwūd al-Antāki, and further attributes the text he is presenting to the famous eighth-century authority on science, Jābir Ibn Hayyān. The text is divided into three main sections followed by a conclusion. The first section is on mines, and discusses the association between various mines and celestial bodies. The second section covers stones; the third section discusses plants and herbs. There is an additional folio with some information not contained in the ...
The Blossoms of Thoughts Regarding the Precious Stones
Azhār al-Afkār fī Jawāhir al-Ahjār (The blossoms of thoughts regarding precious stones) is considered the most detailed and complete treatise of the Middle Ages on stones and their properties. Lapidaries, or treatises devoted entirely to the discussion of precious stones and their features, can be traced to ancient Greece. Pliny, in his Naturalis Historia (Natural history), mentions at least 20 authors as sources of his knowledge of stones, even though, of the works he cites, only the treatise On Stones by Theophrastus (circa 371–287 BC) has survived. Theophrastus’s ...
The Selection of Treasures Regarding Precious Stones
Kitāb nuhab al-dahā'ir fī ahwāl al-jawāhir (The selection of treasures regarding precious stones) is a treatise devoted to precious stones and, in particular, to the different kinds of hyacinth (a precious stone of the ancients, sometimes held to be the sapphire). The work opens with a draft of a poem on precious stones on the title page, probably copied at the same time as the manuscript, and proceeds with brief notes on the different kinds of hyacinth, on pearls, and on other precious stones found in water. The author ...
Farah’s Encyclopedia of Nature
This Persian manuscript contains the text and accompanying illustrations of Faraḥ nāmah (Farah’s encyclopedia of nature), also known by the title Ajayib al-dunya (Wonders of the world). The work is a treatise on natural history by al-Muṭahhar ibn Muḥammad al-Yazdi (flourished circa 1184). The manuscript was copied in the 17th century in a large Taliq script, and is illuminated with detailed multicolored illustrations of animals, birds, plants, rocks, and humans. Persian miniature painting was becoming a fine art genre in the 12th–13th centuries, and portrayal of the ...