42 results in English
Hebrew Bible
This manuscript Hebrew Bible with full vocalization, accentuation, and Masorah annotation was created in Spain in around 1300. The Bible is illustrated and decorated in color, silver, and gold. The books of the Bible are arranged in the conventional order later adopted in Hebrew printed editions, with the exception that Ecclesiastes precedes Lamentations. Written on parchment in Sephardi square script, the manuscript has three columns per page, with 35 lines per column. The Masorah Magna notes are written in micrography. Masorah refers to the collection of critical notes, compiled in ...
Collected Prescriptions for Divine Relief from Suffering, Reissued in the Dade Reign
The Sheng ji zong lu was originally a 200-juan encyclopedic compilation of more than 20,000 medical prescriptions, collected from both officially verified sources and common practices during and before the Song dynasty (960–1279) and published around 1111–17. Shortly after its completion, it was removed to the north due to the Jingkang Incident, which took place in 1127, when invading Jurchen soldiers besieged and sacked the Song capital Bianjing and abducted Emperor Qinzong. As a consequence, this work did not become well known in the south. Two early ...
Contributed by National Central Library
New Edition with Supplemental Annotations of The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor. Su wen
The ancient medical text Huangdi nei jing (The inner canon of the Yellow Emperor) was already listed in Yi wen zhi (Treatise on literature) of Han shu (Book of Han), the classical Chinese history completed in 111 AD. It had two texts: Su wen (Basic questions) and Ling shu (Spiritual pivot), each in nine juan. Su wen deals with the theoretical foundation of Chinese medicine and its diagnostic methods, while Ling shu discusses acupuncture therapy in great detail. The title Huangdi nei jing often refers only to the more ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Book on Children’s Diseases and Their Treatments
Zeng Shirong (1252–circa 1332), a native of Hengzhou (present-day Hengyang), Hunan Province, was a Chinese pediatrician of the Yuan dynasty. In addition to this work, he was the author of Huo you kou yi (Treatise on children’s oral diseases and treatments), in 20 juan. The present work is in three juan, each of which has a subtitle. The first, Jue zheng shi fu (Diagnoses in verse), has 75 entries, each containing a brief diagnosis in verse of a childhood illness. The second juan, called Ming ben lun (On ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden
Saint Birgitta (or Bridget) of Sweden (circa 1303–73) was known for her revelations, which she reportedly wrote down in Swedish and then had translated into Latin by one of her two confessors. When she took ill, she changed her usual practice, and dictated her revelations to one of the confessors, who then translated them into Latin. In the manuscript collection at the National Library of Sweden is preserved a document that offers a unique insight into the origins of Birgitta’s revelations. It consists of three leaves of paper ...
Lotus Sutra
The practice of printing Buddhist scriptures on the reverse of letters from the deceased to pray for the repose of his or her soul became common from the end of the Heian period (late 12th century) onward. The scrolls shown here contain the text of a Buddhist sutra called Myōhō renge-kyō (Lotus sutra). They are printed on the reverse of letters sent from Daitō Genchi, the second abbot of Kakuon-ji Temple in Kamakura. It is believed that Hōjō Sadatoki’s wife, to whom the letters are addressed, and some others ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Completion of Mere Ideation
In Japan temples were the center of publishing until the Middle Ages. The Kasuga edition of the Buddhist scriptures was produced at the Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara. These scrolls, from that edition, contain the text of Jōyuishikiron (The completion of mere ideation), a commentary on the work by the Indian scholar Seshin (Vasubandhu in Sanskrit) known as Yuishiki sanjūju (Triṃśikā-vijñapti-kārikā in Sanskrit, Weishi sanshi song in Chinese). The commentary was translated into Chinese during the Tang dynasty by a Chinese monk named Xuanzang. It was a canon of the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Book of Hours
This finely illuminated and iconographically rich book of hours was made in England at the end of the 13th century. The manuscript is incomplete and mis-bound. The original sequence of the parts of the manuscript cannot be reconstructed with certainty. The Abbreviated Hours were followed by the Hours of the Holy Spirit, the Seven Penitential Psalms, the litany and collects, the Fifteen Gradual Psalms, the Office of the Dead, and the Hours of Jesus Crucified. Whether the Prayers to the Crucified Christ, which were followed by the lections in the ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Homilary
This richly illuminated 14th-century German homilary is particularly interesting for its rare bifolium of drawings bound in at the front of the book. The headgear worn by the nuns in the drawings is characteristic of Cistercensian and Premostratensian nuns in northern Germany as early as circa 1320. Evidence for dating and localization is also found in the manuscript's relationship with a second homilary in the Bodleian Library (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Douce 185). Despite minor codicological differences—page layout, text-block dimensions, and ruling—it seems likely that the two ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Ethiopian Gospels
This Gospel book was written in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, in the early 14th century, and was once owned by the church of Saint George in Debre Mark'os. It was written by the scribe Mäṭre Krǝstos in the official liturgical language of Ethiopia, Gǝ‛ǝz. Most notable is its prefatory image cycle, which makes references to holy places in Jerusalem, such as Golgotha and the Holy Sepulcher, as they appeared in the sixth century. The manuscript therefore appears to be based on a sixth-century exemplar containing images connected to the ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
New Edition of Wang's Classic on Pulse, in Ten Juan
Wang Shuhe, the author of Xin kan Wang shi mai jing (New edition of Wang's classic on pulse), was an imperial physician during the Western Jin dynasty (265−316). Wang drew his material from a great number of ancient classics on pulse to compile this work. It is the earliest extant work focusing on diagnosis by pulse, and it played an important role in the history of Chinese medicine. After its completion, there were numerous later editions with varied contents. During the Northern Song, the court established the Bureau ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Prescriptions of the Bureau of the Management and Administration of Pharmacy, in Ten Juan
Tai ping hui min he ji ju fang (Prescriptions of the Bureau of the Management and Administration of Pharmacy) is the earliest book of patent medicine in China and in the world. The work records prescriptions of patent medicines compiled by the official pharmacy of the Imperial Medical Bureau during the Northern Song dynasty (960−1127). It contains 788 prescriptions in 14 categories, and provides, under each prescription, details on the expected cure and components of the medicine. The work serves as a manual, making it easier for physicians and ...
Contributed by National Library of China
"Jottings at the Dream Brook Studio," in the Family Collection of Chen Guyu, in 26 Juan
Mengxi bi tan (Jottings at the Dream Brook Studio) was written in encyclopedic form as a collection of hundreds of articles by Shen Kuo (1031−95), a Song polymath, scientist, statesman, and artist. The work was written at Mengxi (Dream Brook) Garden, his estate in Runzhou (near present-day Zhenjiang, Jiangsu), thus the title. This work’s extraordinarily broad coverage includes astronomy, physics, mathematics, geology, geography, biological medicine, contemporary politics, military affairs, economics, and anecdotes about the arts and literature. It is also a very important document in the history of ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Careful Study of Authentic Revelation
This 14th-century manuscript of a work by Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Qurqul (1111−74) is an analysis of lexical problems arising from the canonical hadith texts of al-Bukhari and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj. Ibn Qurqul’s work is modeled after the better known work by Qadi ‘Ayad, Mashariq al-Anwar `ala Sahih al-Athar (A dawn light upon authentic revelation). This is the third and final portion of a set that begins with the letter ‘ayn and continues to the end of the alphabet. The text typically begins with a review of the ...
On Time; On Divine Ideas; On Matter and Form; Reply on the Universals; On Universals
This codex contains four philosophical treatises by the English theologian and reformer John Wycliffe (also seen as John Wyclif,) (circa 1330−84). The works are The works are De tempore (also called De individuatio temporis) (On time); De ydeis [De ideis] (On divine ideas); De materia et forma (On matter and form); and De universalibus (On universals); as well as a work by an unidentified author entitled Replicacio de universalibus (Reply on the universals). According to the colophon, the manuscript was written by Jan Hus, an early proponent of ecclesiastical ...
The Travels of Marco Polo
This manuscript from about 1350 is one of the oldest extant copies of Les voyages de Marco Polo (The travels of Marco Polo), the account by the Venetian merchant Marco Polo (circa 1254−1324) of his adventures in Central Asia and the Far East during the latter part of the 13th century. It is possibly one of five manuscripts relating to Marco Polo’s journey that belonged to King Charles V of France (reigned 1364−80). Later it was part of the library of the French book collector Alexandre Petau ...
Franc à cheval, John II
The franc à cheval was ordered issued on December 5, 1360 to finance the ransom of King John II (born 1319; reigned, 1350–64), who had been taken prisoner by the English at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, during the Hundred Years’ War. The ransom totaled a vast 3 million écus, and the fact that the coin was used to secure the release of the king gave rise to the name by which it was known: franc, meaning free. The value of the coin was set at one livre ...
The Book of Remedies from Deficiencies in Setting Up Marble Sundials
This work is a treatise for timekeepers (singular muwaqqit), and discusses the telling of time from such astronomical observations as the sun’s angle of inclination (mayl), altitude (irtifā‛), as well as the direction (samt) and length of cast shadows (zill). In 14 chapters, the author goes through methods for the computation of these factors, determination of the direction of prayer (qibla), and time of the day. He observes that using instruments (ālāt), such as markings on the ruler (mistara) and the compass (bargār, from the Persian pargār), and geometric ...
The Diary of Moromori
This work is part of a series of diaries kept by Nakahara Moromori (dates unknown) in 1374-99. Moromori was an official of the imperial government who wrote his diaries in the margins and on the reverse sides of calendars. His memoranda on the military and social affairs of the day are among the best sources available for the study of late-14th century Japan.
Contributed by National Diet Library
Mishneh Torah
This document is widely considered the most splendid of the extant manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah, the systematic code of Jewish law produced by the 12th-century Jewish philosopher, theologian, and physician, Moses ben Maimon, better known as Maimonides. The manuscript was made by a copyist from Spain, who commissioned an artist to illustrate the work and left space in the margins for drawings, decorative panels, and illuminations. The artwork was done in Italy, possibly in the workshop of Mateo De Ser Cambio in Perugia, circa 1400. A few ornamental headings ...
Letters by ‘Alī Ḥamdānī
Maktūbāt-i Sayyid ‘Alī Ḥamdānī (Letters by Ali Hamdani) is a collection letters by the famous Persian scholar, saint, and preacher Sayyid ‘Alī Ḥamdānī (1314–85 A.D.; A.H. 714–87). He came from Hamdan in Central Asia and traveled to Kashmir in 1372–73 A.D. to spread the message of Islam. This is one of the rarest extant manuscripts of letters from the saint to his disciples, directing them how to unravel the secrets of Islamic mysticism. In the letters, Sayyid ‘Alī Ḥamdānī quotes a number ...
Commentary on Song of Songs; Letter on the Soul; Letter on Ascesis and the Monastic Life
This 14th-century manuscript is a collection of translations into Arabic. At the beginning is the Commentary on the Song of Songs, originally in Greek, by Gregory of Nyssa (died 394), brother of Basil the Great and, with him and Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the three so-called Cappadocian Fathers. Next comes one of the many pieces of philosophy in Arabic attributed to Hermes the Sage, A Letter on the Soul. The manuscript concludes with a letter of Isaac of Nineveh (active, end of the seventh century) on asceticism and monasticism ...
The Little Sparkles on the Science of Calculation
The treatise preserved in this manuscript, Al-Luma‘al-yasīra fī ‘ilm al-hisāb (The little sparkles on the science of calculation), deals with Muslim inheritance. Of the social innovations that came with the Islamic conquest, the introduction of the system of fara'id (shares) for inheritances was one of the most radical and socially advanced. The fourth surah of the Qur'an, verses 11–12, criticizes the traditional pre-Islamic system of agnatic succession, under which only men could inherit property, and provides for a proportional division among all the heirs, women included ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Commentary on Hippocrates' Aphorisms
The Greek medical tradition survived long after the decline of the Hellenistic world, thanks to the work of Arabic translators and commentators, who preserved the theoretical and practical discoveries of Greek physicians in Arabic translations. The translation of Greek medical texts into Arabic was mainly conducted under the ‘Abbasid caliphs and, in particular, in the circle of intellectuals linked to the name of Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq (circa 809–73). Among the Greek physicians, Hippocrates has always been considered an exemplary character, the symbol of the true and scrupulous physician, thanks ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Reynard Cycle
Roman de Renart (Reynard cycle) is the most famous set of animal stories produced in the Middle Ages. It is not one story but a collection of 26 chapters composed by several clerks and minstrels around the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th. It was inspired by the Fables of the ancient Greek writer, Aesop, and by a mock epic poem in Latin by Nivardus, written in Ghent in around 1150, called Ysengrimus. Under the guise of the endless war between Reynard the Fox and ...
Bismillah and Qur'anic Verse (81:1-14)
This Qur'anic fragment includes the bismillah (In the name of God) and verses 1–14 of surah (chapter) 81, al-Takwir (The folding up). These verses constitute some of the most graphic descriptions in the Qur'an of Doomsday and the associated reversal of natural phenomena. The sun folds up, stars fall from the sky, mountains vanish, oceans boil over, and a blazing fire is kindled. Souls are sorted out and men’s deeds weighed so that “each soul may know what it has put forward” (81:14). The fragment ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'an Carpet Page
This folio contains an opening carpet page of a Qur'an. It is the first of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together with another folio, this folio constitutes the double-page illuminated frontispiece of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. This folio contains verses 76–78 of the 56th chapter of the Qur'an, al-Waqi'ah (The inevitable), contained in the top and bottom rectangular panels of the double-page illuminated frontispiece. The next folio continues the inscription ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'an Carpet Page; al-Fatihah
This folio contains an opening carpet page of a Qur'an. It is the second of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together with another folio, this folio constitutes the double-page illuminated frontispiece of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. The folio contains the continuation of verses 76–80 of the 56th surah (chapter), al-Waqi'ah (The inevitable), contained in the top and bottom rectangular panels of the double-page illuminated frontispiece. The decorative patterns and palette of ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes verses 85–88 of the third surah (chapter) of the Qur'an, Al 'Imran (The family of 'Imran). The verses continue on the fragment’s verso. In this surah, all people are invited to accept Islam, while Muslims are encouraged to seek friendship and security within their communities. Between each horizontal line of Arabic text are diagonal word-by-word translations into Persian. Unlike similar interlinear Qur'ans that include a Persian translation in red ink, this fragment makes no color differentiation between the Arabic original and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This folio contains verses 1–4 of the second chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Baqarah (The cow), the fourth of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together, these folios constitute the first five folios of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. The title of the chapter, executed on a blue and gold background in the top and bottom rectangular panels, gives the name of the surah and the total number of verses (286), words, and letters ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes the last verse (30) of the 32nd chapter of the Qur'an, Surat al-Sajdah (The prostration), as well as the bismillah (in the name of God) and first verse of the subsequent chapter (33) entitled Surat al-Ahzab (The confederates). The subsequent verses of Surat al-Ahzab continue on the fragment's verso. The title executed in gold ink outlined in black specifies that the chapter contains 73 verses. The beginning of this surah discusses the necessity of abandoning pagan customs. The verso of this fragment includes ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Royal Coin, Philip VI, Chaise d'Or
The chaise d’or was a French gold coin, first issued in the early 14th century, bearing the figure of the king seated on a large throne. This coin, issued under Philip VI (born, 1293; reigned, 1328–50), shows the king in his majesty, seated facing forward on a Gothic throne, crowned, holding the scepter and hand of justice in a lobed trefoil. The reverse side has a four-lobed cross, with leaves and fleur de lis, curved at the heart, in a four-lobed trefoil bordered by four crowns. This type ...
Amplification of the Poem, the Burdah, Or the Expansion of the Bright Stars in the Praise of the Finest of Mankind, the Prophet Muhammad
This manuscript is a copy of the poem in honor of the Prophet Muhammad, which is popularly known as Qaṣīdat al-burdah (The poem of the mantle). It was written by Sharaf al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Būṣīrī (died 694 AH [1294 AD]). The poem has a takhmīs (amplification, or expansion of the poem) by Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Fayyūmī. The amplification and the text of the Qaṣīdat al-burdah were written in Naskh and Thuluth scripts respectively by Riḍwān ibn Muḥammad al-Tabīzī in 767 AH (1366 AD), probably for the Mawlawī (Mevlevi) Library in Konya ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Book of the Dove
Gregory Bar ‘Ebraya (also seen as Bar Hebraeus, 1226–86) was a Syriac Orthodox bishop and major author in the later Syriac tradition. He wrote prolifically, mostly in Syriac but also in Arabic, on philosophy, theology, spirituality, and history. His works also included commentaries on scripture, devotions, moral treatises, logic, the sciences, poetry, and humorous stories. This manuscript, dated 1360, is an important early witness to his writings. It contains his Ktābā d-yawnā (Book of the dove), which represents Bar Hebraeus’s instructions on how to start and then continue ...
Book on the Division of Geographical Boundaries by Reference to the Stars
Ancient Chinese astronomy was used to make prognostications about human affairs by pairing celestial bodies with states, counties, prefectures, and people. Predictions could thereby be made about favorable developments or disasters that might befall a particular locality or person based on movements of the sun, the moon, or stars. This methodology was called fen ye (division of geographical boundaries by reference to the stars). The methodology and the theory on which it was based existed since the Han dynasty (circa 206 BC–220 AD), and over the centuries the system ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Siddur
This codex is widely considered to be one of the most original of extant medieval mahzorim (Jewish holy day prayer books) from Spain, dating probably from the beginning of the 14th century. Written in Hebrew in Sephardic square characters, it contains two distinct parts that later were bound together. The larger part forms a Haggadah shel Pesach (the text of the order of service used at the beginning of Passover). It includes piyutim (liturgical poems, usually sung or chanted) for Passover and the Aramaic targum (translation) of Exodus, followed by ...
Babylonian Talmud
Of the nearly 500 Hebrew manuscripts held by the Bavarian State Library, the one presented here is without doubt the most valuable. It is the only surviving manuscript in the world that contains, with the exception of two missing leaves, the complete text of the Babylonian Talmud including some extra-canonical tracts: Derekh Eretz zuta, Pirkei Azzai, Kallā, Sôferîm, and Gērîm. In addition, the manuscript contains some texts that do not relate directly to the Talmud. Numerous entries of the names of owners make it possible to trace the history of ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Kalila and Dimna
Kalila wa-Dimna (Kalila and Dimna) is a widely circulated collection of Oriental fables of Indian origin, composed in Sanskrit possibly as early as the third century BC. The fables were translated into Arabic in the eighth century by the Persian Ibn al-Muqaffa’, a highly educated writer and influential courtier. To this day, al-Muqaffa’s translation is considered an unsurpassed masterpiece of Arabic artistic prose, and numerous translations into European and Oriental languages dating from the 10th to the 14th centuries derive from his version. Influences of al-Muqaffa’s translation also ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Qur’an
This outstanding early 14th-century manuscript is the first part of a Qur’an originally comprising 12 volumes, which, according to the colophon, was produced for the Moroccan ruler Abū Ya‘qūb Yūsuf. This text and a companion manuscript, also in the Bavarian State Library (Cod.arab 3), contain, respectively, the first and last five sixtieths of the Qur’an. The text is written in Maghrebi script on parchment, with only seven lines to a page. The well-proportioned balancing of the text area with the wide margins gives the Qur’an ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Qur’an of Père Lachaise
This 14th-century Mameluke Qur’an, which belonged to Père Lachaise, confessor of Louis XIV, was obtained by the Jesuit order of Paris in 1693. The manuscript was confiscated when the order was dissolved in France in 1763. Gerhoh Steigenberger (1741–87), canon regular of the Upper Bavarian monastery of Polling, subsequently bought it, along with large parts of the dissolved Jesuit library. Steigenberger had been sent to Paris to acquire books and manuscripts for the monastic library. After the dissolution of the monastery in 1803, the manuscript was transferred to ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
The Elucidation of the Memoir on Astronomy by Ṭūsi
This manuscript is a commentary on Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Ṭūsi's al-Tadhkira fī al-‘ilm al-hay’a (Memoir on astronomy). Written in the second half of the 13th century, Ṭūsi's work was hugely influential for subsequent generations of astronomers in the Islamic world, and several of the commentaries on it became popular in their own right. This commentary is by Niẓām al-Dīn Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-A‘raj al-Nīsābūrī al-Qummī (died after 1311). In the introduction to his work, which the author himself entitles Tauḍīḥ al-Tadhkira (Elucidation of ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Liturgical Texts (Kacmarcik Codex)
This 14th-century manuscript was written in the Monastery of Saint Antony near the Red Sea in Egypt. It contains a unique set of prayers for the Eucharistic liturgy, displayed in parallel texts in both Greek and Arabic. These are the Order of the Liturgy, with the Anaphoras of Saint Basil, Saint Gregory the Theologian, and Saint Mark, along with prayers for the sick, the dead, and other needs. The Anaphora is part of the Divine Liturgy or mass, in which the bread and wine are consecrated as the body and ...