Illustrated manuscript of the Qanunceh, or "small canon": a summary of Ibn Sina's famous Canon of Medicine

[Ibn Sina (Avicenna)]. [Al-Jaghmini, Mahmud ibn Muhammad ibn Umar, and others]. [Qanunceh] (= Small Canon).

No place, [1862 CE =] 1279 H.

8vo (ca. 175 x 105 mm). Manuscript on paper, written in a cursive, Persian-Arabic script in 15 to 23 lines per page. With 1 leaf containing 8 hand-coloured illustrations, with captions, of medical instruments (4 instruments on respectively the recto and verso of leaf 26). Contemporary brown calf, with blind-stamped decorations.


Arabic manuscript containing the Arabic translation of Ibn Sina's "Qanunsah" ("Small canon"), originally written in Persian: a brief medical compendium compiled by the Khwarazmian polymath Mahmud ibn Muhammad ibn Umar al-Jaghmini based on Ibn Sina's famous "Qanun". This abridged manual of medicine is arranged in ten parts ("maqalat", or "discourses"), each containing several chapters. The first maqala serves as a general introduction, dealing with the basic concepts of 14th century medical science and illustrating the various physical qualities (al-arkan) and body constitutions (al-amzigat), then focusing on the four Galenic humours (al-ahlat) - blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile - before discussing the parts of the body, the senses or faculties (al-quwá), and the preservation of one's natural temper (al-umur at-tabi iya). Further discourses treat anatomy, the various "conditions of the human body" ("ahwal badan al-insan"), the pulse, the "tafsira", or urine bottle given to the physician by the patient for inspection, the various aspects of the "wise management of diseases", "head diseases" and "diseases affecting the other body parts", chronic diseases of the various organs, evident defects (or "infirmities") in the external appearance of the body, fevers, and ultimately the importance of food and drink as remedies.

The "Qanunceh" was widely used at Eastern Persian schools as an introductory medical instruction manual for at least three centuries.

Slight soiling of the extremities of the leaves, otherwise in good condition.