Made for an Italian noble family: 206 miniatures for the text of the famous doctor Ibn Butlan with many scenes of everyday life

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

Verona (Italy) — End of the 14th century

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

Verona (Italy) — End of the 14th century

  1. A 14th century translation of an 11th century medical text by an Arab-Christian doctor named Ibn Butlan (ca. 1068)

  2. Made for an Italian noble family (*Tacuino* = “notebook”) with 206 colorful full-page miniatures

  3. The illustrations display an evocative image of old Italian culture and many aspects of daily life

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

Tacuinum Sanitatis - Codex Paris

The Tailor’s Shop

Bearing the caption Uestis Ianea or “Woolen Clothes” this scene shows a medieval tailor’s shop. The tailor is beautifully dressed in red, a very fashionable color in the 14th century, as he takes some final measurements on his customer’s brilliant blue coat, which he holds in place by pressing his left hand to his chest. Two young beardless apprentices sit sewing and watching their master surrounded by various works in progress as well as a pair of scissors.

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

Arab doctors were highly prized in the West during the Middle Ages. Since the great libraries of the East were spared the fate of their western counterparts, medical knowledge from antiquity had not only been preserved but improved. The Tacuinum sanitatis in medicina (”Overview of Medicine in Tabular Form”) is a translation of an 11th century medical text by an Arab doctor named Ibn Botlan. The edition at hand is among the most beautifully and richly decorated manuscripts in the Austrian National Library, featuring 206 full-page miniatures and detailed descriptions.

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

The Tacuinum sanitatis in medicina (”Overview of Medicine in Tabular Form”) is among the most beautifully and richly decorated manuscripts in the Austrian National Library. This lavishly pictured handbook of medicine was conceived for a lay public, in particular for a lady of the upper aristocracy or of a rich patrician family who was able to afford, and read, such a costly “reference work” on household management as well as on topics of health and cure. This type of book goes back to an Arab source written by the physician Ibn Botlan under the title of taqwim es-sihha. The Arab art and practice of healing decisively influenced occidental curing methods and enjoyed a great reputation. The Latin translation, which made the codex accessible to the educated of the medieval western world, was widely known judging from the large number of surviving manuscripts. Although at first the famous work was only comprised of synoptic tables without any illustration, it was later richly furnished with pictures and starting from the 14th century, and the text was resumed in captions inserted below each individual image. The Tacuinum presented here is among the oldest and undoubtedly the finest examples of its kind, displaying in 206 colorful full-page miniatures all that the 11th century – when the original was written – considered important with regard to human health and well-being.

A Testimony to Famous Oriental Cure

"Tacuinum" is an Arab word which remained untranslated but was given a Latin ending. As the work was translated from Arabic into Latin and spread throughout Italy, the term tacuinum was integrated into the Italian language. In Italian, the term tacuino today still means notebook. The then highly celebrated physician Elbochasim de baldach (Ibn Botlan) wrote the Tacuinum in the 11th century, among several other medical works, and acquired great fame. In the 13th century, this work consisting of synoptic tables without illustrations was probably translated into Latin at the court of Manfred of Sicily, which made it a long-lasting influence to western medicine.

A Sumptuous Monument to Book Illumination

The codex is not only important for physicians and pharmacists interested in history but also because of its illustration with over 200 miniatures, and as an object of extensive study for the bibliophile public and researchers alike. In addition, its illustrations display an evocative image of old Italian culture as well as many aspects of daily life, thus constituting a rich source for experts in cultural history. The Tacuinum must have been commissioned and made in Verona towards the end of the 14th century, judging from the coat of arms of the Cerruti family on fol. 3v. It is the common work of two painters in a surprisingly naturalistic style. They chose very strong colors, which lend the miniatures enchanting freshness and vivacity.

A Medical Picture Book

The 206 full-page miniatures show numerous plants and animals, drugs and food, as well as winds, seasons and other environmental phenomena. The book describes their effect on the human organism according to classical medicine tuition. A text below each picture describes both the benefits and shortfalls of the object depicted. The Tacuinum thus constitutes a medical picture book derived from the classical herbalist tradition. The combination of pictures and relatively extensive explanatory text gives rise to a new type of book, which in terms of contents is closely related to Arab manuscripts, while its formal concept betrays the old western tradition. The particularity of the illustrations resides in the fact that the individual objects are not represented alone, but, as in the text, are centered on the human being. Man is shown dealing with certain plants, animals and other things. Based on the attention to detail from everyday life, the naturalistic genre scenes with their rich stock of utensils demonstrate the lifestyle and the living conditions of citizens in a late medieval Italian city. In addition to its great importance for the history of civilization, the Tacuinum is fascinating contemporary readers as it provides an opportunity to compare modern natural cures and healthy living practices with those used nearly 600 years ago.

The Commentary Volume

The facsimile edition is accompanied by a scholarly commentary from Franz Unterkircher. It describes the outward appearance of the manuscript and its history in great detail, introduces the author and his work, and explores a number of art historical issues. The commentary is complete with a transcription of the Latin text in German and English (the latter being a translation by Heide Saxer and Charles H. Talbot), which makes it a helpful guide to understanding the facsimile.

Codicology

Size / Format
214 pages / 33.0 x 23.0 cm
Date
End of the 14th century
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
206 full-page miniatures, 2 pages coat-of-arms
Previous Owners
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

Tacuinum Sanitatis

Harvesting Sour Apples

Like in the rest of the manuscript, this splendid miniature is presented in a conspicuously simple red frame that allows the beholder to focus on the great care taken by the artist in creating it. Heavy with fruit, the tree itself is extremely detailed with various shades of green employed by the artist to give it a sense of depth.

Leaves and apples are depicted in midair as a man in an embroidered blue tunic and red tights uses a pole to knock them loose. A woman in a flowing red dress and a blue blouse uses her right hand to shield her face from the falling fruit as she holds an empty basket with her left. Aside from its pastoral idealism, the image is remarkable for its near-perfect symmetry with regard to both form and color.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina“

Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina – Cod. Vindob. S. N. 2644 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
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Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1986
Limited Edition
700 copies
Binding
Leather on wooden board with hand stamping according to contemporary pattern. All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary
1 volume (148 pages) by J. Stummvoll, F. Unterkircher, H. Saxer and C. H. Talbot
Language: German

The facsimile edition is accompanied by a scholarly commentary from Franz Unterkircher. It describes the outward appearance of the manuscript and its history in great detail, introduces the author and his work, and explores a number of art historical issues. The commentary is complete with a transcription of the Latin text and a German and English version (the latter being a translation by Heide Saxer and Charles H. Talbot), which makes it a helpful guide to understanding the facsimile.

Preface by J. Stummvoll, Vienna. Introduction, transcription of the latin text and translation of the captions into German by F. Unterkircher, Vienna. Translation of the captions into English by H. Saxer, Vienna, and C. H. Talbot, London. 148 pp. text and 8 plates on art print. Half leather with paper parchment.
More Information
All folios are cut according to the original.
Regular price without login (like new)725 €
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Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina
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Tacuinum Sanitatis in Medicina

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Salerno Editrice – Rome
Limited Edition
700 copies (co-edition with ADEVA)
Binding
Leather on wooden board with hand stamping according to contemporary pattern. All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary
1 volume (124 pages) by Franz Unterkircher, Josef Stummvol, Gino Barbieri and Valerio Marucci
Language: Italian
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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