Complete collective medical manuscript

Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Al-Urjuza fi l-tibb [Poem on Medicine] and other medical and alchemical treatises.

[Probably Ottoman Empire, ca. 1690s / late 17th century CE].

4to (ca. 160 x 216 mm). Arabic manuscript on polished paper. 8 parts. 93 leaves, final blank leaf. Written in black ink throughout with red chapter headings, 19 lines, two columns and single column. Contemporary brown leather binding with gilt borders and recessed and gilt central ornament, stamped in relief.


A fine, complete composite medical manuscript, including pharmacological and alchemical material. The principal section is formed by the "Urjuza fi l-tibb", or "Medical Poem" of Ibn Sina, which can be considered a poetic summary in 1326 verses of the author's great encyclopedic textbook, the Qanun. The verse form made it popular as a mnemonic in the process of transmitting the Canon's medical knowledge from master to student. The second part of the work is more directly concerned with anatomical matters, but also discusses the pulse and urine.

The following section is "Al-Maqala al-Aminiya fi 'l-fasd", a treatise in ten chapters on phlebotomy. It was written by Abul-Hasan Hibatallah ibn Said ibn al-Tilmidi (d. 1165 CE), the Christian physician to the Abbasid caliph Al-Muqtafi, hailed as one of the greatest medical men of his age.

A subsequent essay treats the refinement of chemical substances by burning and washing, also discussing the characteristics of the combustion of various metals, including gold, silver, steel, copper, and lead. Further parts concern the refinement of medicines (by Al-Hasan ibn Bahram al-Mutatabbib) and the treatment of poisonings in general, but also offering an alphabetical pharmacopoeia.

Leather covers professionally restored; modern marbled pastedowns. Internally quite clean; a few leaves show edge tears but without loss to text. Altogether a fine Arabic medical manuscript comprising a wide range of relevant material.


GAL I, 457, 81 ("Manzuma fi 't-tibb"); GAL S I, 823. For al-Maqala al-Aminiya see GAL I, 487.

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