Author: Filippo Calandri
Florence: Lorenzo Morgiani & Johannes Petri, January 1, 1491/92
Book with printed text and woodcut illustrations; 5 5/16 x 4 5/16 x 13/16 in. (13.5 x 11 x 2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.24)
This charming book was one of the first illustrated textbooks. The low price of such a text would have made it available to far more students than earlier teaching materials, which had been written by hand on vellum. The small size and the many diagrams made it easier to use, while the pictures must have made math much more bearable to small boys. The woodcuts, which range from ornamental classicizing borders framing multiplication tables to lively depictions of people and animals that illustrate word problems, are exquisite examples of the flowering of Florentine woodcut illustration in the 1490s.
On this page, we see a series of hand gestures that signify numbers.