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Image of Page from a Materia Medica

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Bookmark: https://collection.sdmart.org/objects-1/info/5303

Page from a Materia Medica


Creation date: ca. 1200
Creation place: Iran

Other Information

Type: Manuscript Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor and ink on paper
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney 3rd
Accession Number: 1972.219
Dimensions: 11 11/16 in. x 7 15/16 in. (29.7 cm x 20.2 cm)

Provenance

C.D. Kelekian, New York, New York ( - November 2, 1961)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (November 2, 1961 - December 29, 1972)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (December 29, 1972 - )

Label Copy

This rare page is from the first illustrated manuscript to be made in the Islamic world. The text is an Arabic translation of the Materia Medica by the Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides (40–90 CE). This compendium discusses the medicinal value of a wide array of plants. The fact that the first text to be illustrated is a medicinal encyclopedia reveals the keen interest in the sciences and in gathering and making more accessible the work of the ancient Greeks among people in the Islamic world during the medieval period.
The plant shown on this page is titled dhikr aadhaan al-fa'ar, or “the ears of the mouse,” which belongs to the genus lithospermum. Extracts from these shrubs were used historically in the making of purplish dyes and female contraceptives.


August 2009
Asian Court Rotation
Page from a “Materia Medica”
Opaque watercolor on paper, ca. 1200
Iran
Inju period
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney 3rd
1972:219

This rare page is from the first illustrated manuscript to be made in the Islamic world. The text is an Arabic translation of the Materia Medica by the Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides (40–90 CE). This compendium discusses the medicinal value of a wide array of plants. The fact that the first text to be illustrated is a medicinal encyclopedia reveals the keen interest in the sciences and in gathering and making more accessible the work of the ancient Greeks among people in the Islamic world during the medieval period.
The plant shown on this page is titled dhikr aadhaan al-fa'ar, or “the ears of the mouse,” which is a type of plant belonging to the genus lithospermum. Extracts from these shrubs historically were used in the making of purplish dyes and female contraceptives.




August 2008
Asian Court Rotation
This rare page is from the first illustrated manuscript to be made in the Islamic world. The text is an Arabic translation of the Greek Materia Medica by Dioscorides, which describes the medicinal value of a wide array of plants. The fact that the first text to be illustrated is a medicinal encyclopedia reveals the keen interest in the Islamic world during the Medieaval period in organizing and categorizing knowledge about various fields, such as botany, biology, and medicine.

Gallery 11 Label Nov 2015
Folio from an Arabic translation of the Materia Medica
Iran
Opaque watercolor on paper, ca. 1200
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney 3rd, 1972.219


The Materia Medica, by the Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides, discusses the medicinal values of 600 different plants. Dating from 65 CE, the book was translated into several languages and pharmacists continued to consult it through the 1500s, continually supplementing and revising the information. This page, for example, comes from a copy of the book made in Iran over a thousand years after the writing of the original text. The language is Arabic, which was used throughout the Islamic world for the study of science and philosophy. The plant shown on this page is al-kasini, or sideritis, and the text explains its utility for liver and kidney complaints.
Last Updated: 4/13/2021

Exhibition

This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Persian and Indian Miniatures from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd The Portland Art Association , 9/28/1962 - 11/29/1962

Persian Art , 11/23/2013 - 6/8/2014

Bibliography

This object has the following bibliographic references:

Dr. Edwin Binney, 3rd. Persian and Indian Miniatures, Portland Art Museum. Portland, Oregon, 1962
Page Number: 8 no. 11, Figure Number: 11

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