Thursday, January 07, 2010

Botanical Beasties

Medicinal Herb Book

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 a

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 n

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 g

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 e

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 l

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 b

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 c

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 h

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 p

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 q

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 m

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 j

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 f

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 d

Arzneipflanzenbuch, 1525 i opium poppy[opium: 'papava' above or Papapver as the genus name is nowadays]

Produced in the 1520s in Augsburg, this manuscript features eccentric plant renderings and quite obviously belongs to the Medieval herbal tradition, despite any naive Renaissance attempts at taxonomic classification and segregation into chapters of related species. The hand-written text is variously in Latin, German and Italian and the manuscript is made out of paper.

To quote myself:
"Herbals are a particularly interesting group in the history of written communication in that they have always been in circulation since the antiquities and were not 'rediscovered' during the renaissance."
The illustrations in 'Arzneipflanzenbuch' (Medicinal herb book) incorporate elements from folklore (the crossbow is from an age-old legend, for instance), witchcraft and alchemy (the traditional anthropomorphic Mandragora* - mandrake - and zoomorphic root forms) and the often stylised appearance of the plants suggest the manuscript artist may have been copying from earlier works.

'Arzneipflanzenbuch' [BSB Cod.icon. 26] is online at the Bavarian State Library and is about 150 pages long.


zoe said...

these are great! thanks..

Kitty said...

Soooo interesting! Thanks!

emzdog said...


these are awsome pics they are incredible! o and i am new at blogging so it would be awsome if you can check out my site if you can thanks my URL is thanks bye.

Philip Kennedy said...

this is really really interesting... I love these.

D said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing these!!!!

Laurie said...

I can't express adequately how happy I am to find this blog. thanks!


Gym.Hodgson said...

Er, just what is going on in pic number 6?

Personally I like Artemisia absinthium!

If you're snowed-in or just bored, then visit Homemadegymstuff for something to make...

Vita said...

awesome! ;) touch of history hmnmm

Nyx said...

Amazing! All the subjects!I was searching about "Snark" but I found much more than that!I can not explain how I feel visiting this blog!I really love history and arts. But are just words! When I visit the blog is like "history and art in action". Many valuable informations! I am sure i will come back! Muito obrigada! Nicolly

Jake Lawrence said...

Very awesome! I wholeheartedly support this project of yours.

Anonymous said...

mmm! Grandvillesque!!!

Anonymous said...

This stirs up my passion for the sciences. It's just marvelous to be able to peer into the past and view discoveries of others. When I see things like this I feel as if I was there experiencing the same emotions as the artist/scientist was.
I love it all.

Karla said...

Extra-fine beasties, although some more beastly than others. I hadn't thought of mandrakes having their own zoos, so to speak.

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