37 results in English
Dobreisho Gospel
This parchment manuscript, of which only a part has survived, is from the first quarter of the 13th century. The year 1221 was written on the manuscript at a significantly later date and may have been copied from an original colophon by a later owner. Known as the Dobreisho Gospel, the manuscript is an important witness to the history and early development of the Bulgarian language. Of particular interest is the rich illumination, including two full-page miniatures of the evangelists Luke and John. The portrait of the latter is accompanied ...
The Story of the Secluded Chamber, with Li Zhuowu’s Critical Comments
You gui ji (Story of the secluded chamber), also entitled Bai yue ting ji (Story of the Moon-Worshipping Pavilion), is one of the five greatest Ming-dynasty long poetic dramas, called chuan qi. Attributed by some to Guan Hanqing (1220–1300), the Yuan playwright, and by others to Shi Hui (born 1295 or 1296), a native of Hangzhou and a Southern-style playwright at the end of the Yuan and the beginning of the Ming dynasty, the play has 40 scenes in two juan. The story takes place at the end of ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Mirror of the Saxons
More than 400 manuscripts of the Sachsenspiegel (Mirror of the Saxons) survive, attesting to the wide dissemination and influence on the whole of Europe of this first law book in German. The most beautiful copies are the four illuminated manuscripts, all produced between 1295 and 1371, and now held in Heidelberg, Oldenburg, Dresden, and Wolfenbüttel. The most artistically valuable of these documents is the Dresden manuscript, preserved in the Saxon State and University Library. Its 924 image sequences on 92 pages are the most extensive of those in the four ...
Military Epic about the Life of Yoshitsune
Gikei ki tells a fictional story based on the life of Minamoto Yoshitsune, a famous military commander of the 12th century. In the book, Yoshitsune’s elder brother Minamoto Yoritomo, the first shogun in the history of Japan, becomes suspicious of his younger brother’s ambition after his glorious victories in a series of battles. By order of Yoritomo, Yoshitsune is expelled from Kyoto, hounded, and finally forced to commit suicide. The tragic story of Yoshitsune has long been popular in Japan and was often described in novels and dramas ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Poetry Collection
Born in what is now the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, ‘Ali ibn al-Muqarrab (1176 or 1177−1231 or 1232) had an adventurous life that included political intrigue and involvement with trade as well as literary accomplishment. Writing in the early 13th century, he is said to have been one of the last poets before modern times to have composed in the classical style. His Diwan (Poetry collection) is lauded for its historical as well as literary qualities. It is considered a primary source for geography and history as well ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Melk Missal
This missal, which dates to the late-12th or early 13th century, was made for the Benedictine abbey of Melk (or, possibly, Seitenstetten) in Lower Austria, as indicated by the inclusion of the patron saints of Melk, Peter and Paul, and Cholomannus (folio 212 recto). The surviving volume of a multi-volume missal, the manuscript contains only the ordinary of the mass and the "summer part," with the temporale running from Holy Saturday through the Sunday after Trinity Sunday and the sanctorale beginning with the feast of Primus and Felicianus (June 9 ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Trebizond Gospels
This Gospel book was probably made in Constantinople in the mid-12th century and is remarkable for the fine execution and monumental quality of its full-page miniatures. The opening for the Gospel of Matthew is missing, but the other three Gospels are prefaced with a pair of miniatures each: the respective Evangelist on the left and a scene from the Gospel story on the right. The combination of Saint John with the Raising of Lazarus is one found only in this manuscript. The text was copied by two scribes with distinctly ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Cosmography
Created in England in the late-12th century, this manuscript was intended to be a scientific textbook for monks. The manuscript is brief, at nine folios, and was designed as a compendium of cosmographical knowledge drawn from early Christian writers, such as Bede and Isidore, as well as the later Abbo of Fleury. Those writers, in turn, drew on classical sources, such as Pliny the Elder, for their knowledge but adapted it to be understood through the filter of Christianity. The 20 complex diagrams accompany and help to illustrate the texts ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Central Panel of the Painted Cave of Gáldar
The Painted Cave of Gáldar is in northwest Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain. It is part of a complex of pre-Hispanic caves that were rediscovered in 1862. Full archaeological excavations took place in 1987−2005. The six caves are carved out of the tufa and arranged around a central space. The first occupation of the settlement dates from the sixth century, but radiocarbon dating suggests that the cave acquired its current appearance in the late 12th century. The cave system was created by the Guanches, the ...
Exegetical Works
This manuscript of works by Honorius Augustodunensis (also seen as Honorius of Autun) is one of the rare examples of an illustrated commentary on the Old Testament Song of Songs, preserved mainly in manuscripts from southeastern Germany and Austria. The manuscript, written in the monastery of Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, around 1170, features a title piece and three miniatures on books two to four, that is, the full cycle of illuminations. Honorius follows the allegorical interpretation of the marriage of Christ and his Church, depicted in the title piece. In books two ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Dialogue in Praise of the Holy Cross
Dialogus de laudibus sanctae crucis (Dialogue in praise of the Holy Cross), written between 1170 and 1180, and once owned by the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg), Bavaria, contains a text in praise of the Cross, which has come down only in this manuscript. The text, written by an unidentified author, is in the form of a didactic dialogue between “Magister” and “Discipulus,” the teacher and a pupil. It relates the history of salvation to the Holy Cross in the so-called typological exegetical tradition. The text ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel
This Gospel book contains decorated canon tables, extending over 16 pages, and portraits of the evangelists, positioned at the beginning of the respective Gospels. It is decorated with five full-page framed miniatures on gilt ground, the first of which depicts Christ enthroned, with a book in his left hand and blessing with his right. Eight pen-drawn initials mark the beginnings of the argumenta (short versions of the evangelist’s life) in the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John as well as the passages in all four Gospels concerning the Passion ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel
This Gospel book from Weihenstephan in Bavaria, created circa 1170−80, represents a late example of the art of book illumination as it was practiced in the scriptorium of Tegernsee Abbey in the 11th and early 12th century. The scriptorium of Tegernsee Abbey was held in high esteem during that time, as a surviving letter from Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I (circa 1123−90) proves. Praising the reputation of the scriptorium, he commissioned two manuscripts, which unfortunately have not been preserved. With its decoration and style of the initials and ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel of Passau
This Gospel lectionary contains the text of the liturgical Gospel readings for the main feast days. Written and illuminated in the 12th century in the Bavarian diocesan town of Passau, it remained in use at least until the 15th century, as it is shown by the exquisite metal binding with a deep relief, displaying the figure of Christ carved in rock crystal, which was executed at that time. The manuscript itself is one of the finest examples of Romanesque illumination from southeast Bavaria; it displays magnificent gold initials with near-naturalistic ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Hong's Collection of Effective Prescriptions, in Five Juan
The imperial court of the Song dynasty placed great importance on medicine. Even scholar-officials were engaged in compiling medical books. Hong Zun (1120−74), in his spare time after his working hours, sought and collected medical prescriptions and compiled this work, entitled Hong shi ji yan fang (Hong's collection of effective prescriptions). It contains 167 prescriptions, which were collected from his many years of research and which proved to be practical and effective. The work was engraved in the sixth year of the Qiandao reign (1170) and was printed ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Classified Materia Medica from Historical Classics for Emergency
Jing shi zheng lei bei ji ben cao (Classified materia medica from historical classics for emergency), often abbreviated as Zheng lei ben cao, is an encyclopedic work on materia medica. The compiler, Song physician Tang Shenwei, systematically collected all 365 herbs recorded in Shennong ben cao jin (Shennong’s materia medica) of the Qin and Han. He also studied classics of the Liang and Tang, such as Ben cao jing ji zhu (Variorum of the classic of materia medica) by Tao Hongjing (452−536) and Xin xiu ben cao (Newly ...
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
Notes of Those Rooted in Understanding and Verification in the Matter of Hadiths and Their Abrogation
This manuscript is a critique by the 12th-century jurist Abu Faraj ibn al-Jawzi of 21 hadiths, or sayings, of the Prophet Muhammad. A significant issue in the study of hadiths is the verification of the chain of transmission back to the Prophet himself. In this work as well as in others, Ibn al-Jawzi comments on the transmission of sayings and on the  misinterpretation or misclassification of companions or relatives of the Prophet, such as ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ibn ‘Abbas, and Abu Hurayrah. The topics of the hadiths discussed include ...
The Life and Miracles of Saint Francis of Assisi
Bonaventure de Bagnoregio (circa 1217−74), the great Franciscan theologian also known as “the Seraphic Doctor,” began writing Legenda major sancti Francisci (The life and miracles of Saint Francis of Assisi) in 1260. He compiled documents and testimonies from former companions of Saint Francis who were still alive. This manuscript in small format is an anonymous translation of this work from Latin into French. The name of its recipient is unknown, but it is known that she was a private individual, most likely a lady from high society, as folio ...
Miroslav's Gospel
Miroslav’s Gospel is a liturgical work that is considered the most important and the most beautiful of Serbian manuscript books. It was created around 1180 by two student monks for Duke Miroslav, the brother of Stefan Nemanja, grand prince of the medieval Serbian state of Rascia. Written on parchment in Cyrillic uncial (the Cyrillic script that developed from Greek in the 9th century), it is a monument to early Serbian literacy. The work is decorated with approximately 300 stylized miniatures of outstanding beauty, and is representative of a group ...
The History of Genghizcan the Great, First Emperor of the Antient Moguls and Tartars
This early Western history of Genghis Khan, the 13th-century Mongol Emperor who established the world’s largest contiguous empire, is by François Pétis (1622-95), an interpreter of Arabic and Turkish at the French court. In a long and distinguished career, Pétis translated a history of France into Turkish, compiled a French-Turkish dictionary, and created a catalog of the Turkish and Persian manuscripts owned by the king of France. François Pétis de la Croix (1653-1713), the son of François Pétis, took over the position of interpreter from his father in 1695 ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Yoshitsune Leaving for Oshu Province
This picture scroll illustrates the story of Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-89), a military commander at the end of the 12th century, and his legendary retainer Benkei (?-1189). Yoshitsune’s older brother Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-99) became suspicions of his younger brother’s ambition after Yoshitsune achieved a series of military successes. Yorimoto had Yoshitsune expelled from Kyoto. Yoshitsune sought the protection of the Fujiwara family in Hiraizume, Oshū province, but in the end was hounded to death and forced to commit suicide by his powerful brother. The tragic story of Yoshitsune and ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Soga's Robes
Nara-ehon are illustrated manuscripts or hand-printed books and scrolls produced in Japan from the Muromachi period (1336-1573) through the middle of the Edo period (1600-1867). This rectangular nara-ehon depicts the story of the Soga brothers, Soga Jurō Sukenari (1172-93) and Soga Gorō Tokimune (1174-93), and their quest for revenge for their father's death. The Soga Monogatari (Tale of the Soga brothers) tells how, after 18 years of hardships, the brothers fulfill their quest, but also how Sukenari is killed and Tokimune captured and executed by Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-99), the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
On Substantiation Through Transitive Relations
This work by the prominent Shafi’i theologian Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1233 [631 AH]) consists of three parts. The first part, on pages 1 and 2, discusses the difference between metaphors and similes in figurative speech. The second part, on pages 3–10, deals with the use of analogies and transitive relations to prove a case. Al-qiyas, or the use of transitive relations to substantiate a case, is one of four pillars in Islamic jurisprudence. It is also widely used by grammarians. The last part, on page 11, is the ...
An Essay on Statements in Logic
This treatise by the prominent Shafi’i theologian Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1233 [631 AH]) deals with questions of original existence and mental existence. The manuscript copy shown here was made in 1805 by an unknown scribe. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870–1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print ...
A Treatise on Book Titles
This short work by the prominent Shafi’i theologian Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1233 [631 AH]) continues an earlier discussion by the same author about original existence and mental existence. In this work, al-Amidi considers the elements of place and time and discusses their relationship to existence. The manuscript copy shown here is by an unknown scribe, and dates from the early 19th century. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register ...
An Essay on the Field of Scholarship
This work by Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1786 [1180 AH]?) examines the concept of knowledge, both as innate (hudhoori) and acquired (husooli). The author explores the disagreement between philosophers and theologians over the nature of divine knowledge, and the difference between divine and human knowledge. This manuscript copy dates from 1805. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870–1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist ...
A Treatise on the Division of Theoretical Scholarship
This four-page essay on the difference between pre-theoretical belief and theoretical imagination was written by the prominent Shafi’i theologian Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1233 [631 AH]). The manuscript copy shown here was made in the early 19th century by an unknown scribe. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870–1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of ...
Devil's Bible
The Codex Gigas (or Devil´s Bible) is a large 13th-century manuscript from Bohemia, one of the historical Czech lands. Renowned for its size and its striking full-page rendition of the devil (found on page 577), it contains a number of parts: the Old and New testaments, two works of Josephus Flavius, Isidore of Seville´s Etymologies, the standard textbook for teaching medicine in the Middle Ages known as Ars medicinae (The art of medicine), the 12th-century Chronica Boëmorum (Chronicle of the Bohemians) of Cosmas of Prague, and a calendar ...
Mishnah Commentary in Judeo-Arabic
This manuscript contains commentaries on the Mishnah by Maimonides: on Seder Moed (from the middle of tractate Eruvin), and on Seder Nashim. The manuscript shows hand-written corrections and emendations by Maimonides himself, as well as notes added in the margins by his son, Abraham he-Hasid, and by David ha-Nagid II and others. The headings are written in Sefardi square script. The manuscript was purchased in Damascus in 1908 by the Toledano brothers, who sold it to the noted bibliophile David Solomon Sassoon (Collection no. 72-73) and his descendants. It was ...
The Medical Formulary of Al-Samarqandī
Little is known about the author of this treatise on medical remedies, Nağīb al-Dīn Al-Samarqandī, apart from the fact that he was killed during the pillage of Herat (present-day Afghanistan) by the Mongols in 1222. His premature death notwithstanding, al-Samarqandī composed an impressive number of medical treatises dealing with pharmacology, dietetics, toxicology, and ophthalmology, and books on medicine in general. Al-Samarqandī showed a degree of modernity and independent thinking in his treatment of pathology. He appeared to set aside the theory of the four humors of the body dating back ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Historic Records of the East Capital of the Northern Song
Dongdu shi lue (Historic records of the east capital of the Northern Song) is a history of the nine courts of the Northern Song (960–1127), mainly consisting of a series of biographies, beginning with Taizu Jianlong (reigned 960–63) and ending with Qinzong Jiankang (reigned 1126–27). The book is divided into 12 juan of general historical information, five juan on high official families, 105 juan of biographies, and eight juan of supplements on the non-Chinese dynasties of Liao (Khitan), Jin (Jurchen), Xi Xia (Tangut Empire), and Jiaozhi (Giao ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Images of Bishamonten
This work is a print of Buddhist images called syubutu or inbutsu. The print was originally placed in the internal cavity of a wooden standing statue of Bishamonten, considered a protector of the teachings of the Buddha. This particular Bishamonten was housed in a statue at the Yamato Nakagawa Temple, which prospered in the late Heian period as a branch of Kōfukuji Temple in Nara. The print has seven Bishamonten impressions, four on the upper part of the page and three on the lower part, each approximately 17 centimeters tall ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Golden Munich Psalter
This manuscript is one of the most lavishly illuminated psalters of the Middle Ages. It includes 91 full-page miniatures, most of which contain gold, in five picture cycles that give an overview of the most important scenes of the Bible, and especially the Old Testament, which is depicted in no fewer than 176 scenes. Among these, several very unusual motifs concerning heroic women are especially noteworthy. The style of the illumination is typical for the transition period between late Romanesque and early Gothic art. With its calendar, the texts of ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Commentary on "The Compendium of Plain Astronomy"
This work is a commentary on Mulahhas fī al-Hay'a Al-Basīta (The compendium of plain astronomy), a treatise on theoretical astronomy by Maḥmūd ibn Muḥammad Jighmīnī. A renowned Persian mathematician and astronomer, Jighmīnī was born in the village of Jaghmīn, in the region of Khwarizm in present-day Uzbekistan. He died circa 1221 during the cataclysmic Mongol conquest of Khwarizm. Several popular commentaries were written on his treatise. On the cover of this manuscript a handwritten note from a previous owner states: “This is a commentary of the 'Handbook of al-Jighmīnī ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
The Little Canon
This book contains the Arabic text of Maḥmūd ibn Muḥammad Jighmīnī's medical book, the Qānūncha, or Qānūnja. The title refers to Avicenna's seminal work on medicine, the Canon. The suffix -cha is a diminutive in Persian, so the title of Jighmīnī's work can be translated as the Little Canon or Mini-Canon. Jighmīnī (also seen as Jaghmīnī), a renowned Persian mathematician and astronomer, was born in the village of Jaghmīn, in Khwarizm, present-day Uzbekistan. He died in 1221 during the Mongol conquest of Khwarizm. The Qānūncha is written ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
"Nourishment for the Ailing" and "Nourishment for the Healthy"
This volume contains copies of two works by Najīb al-Dīn Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Umar al-Samarqandī: Aghdhīyat al-marḍā (Nourishment for the ailing) and Aghdhīyat al-aṣiḥḥa’ (Nourishment for the healthy). Al-Samarqandī was a Persian scientist who lost his life during the cataclysmic Mongol invasions of the early 13th century. He appears to have died during the siege of Herat in 1222. He was a famous physician and the author of many medical texts. Nothing more is known of his life. The frontispiece of each of the books ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library