Illuminated Leaf from Avicenna's Canon of Medicine


Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā (980–1037), commonly known as Avicenna, was born at Afshaneh, near Bukhara in Persia (present-day Uzbekistan). By the age of 10, he was well versed in the study of the Qur’ān and various sciences. He was the most famous and influential of the many Islamic scholars, scientists, and philosophers of the medieval world. He was foremost a physician but was also an astronomer, chemist, geologist, psychologist, philosopher, logician, mathematician, physicist, and poet. A prolific writer in all of these fields, he captured the knowledge of the time in well organized texts. Avicenna’s writings influenced the scholarship of medicine in the West into the 17th century. This is an illuminated leaf from one of the earliest (if not the earliest) complete printings of the Canon medicinae (The canon of medicine), the Latin translation of Avicenna’s al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb. The text is about the care of the teeth, gums, and lips. The book was produced in Strasbourg circa 1473 by the noted printer and publisher Adolf Rusch.

Last updated: June 17, 2014