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Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Folio from the De Materia Medica of Dioscorides

Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
13th century
Geography:
Attributed to Iraq
Medium:
Opaque watercolor on paper
Dimensions:
Page: H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm) W. 8 in. (20.3 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lester Wolfe, 1965
Accession Number:
65.271.1
Not on view
Dioscorides, a physician in the Roman army, wrote a herbal in Greek in the first century A.D., discussing, as was traditional for the genre, the characteristics of each plant, its habitat, and its use. The naturalistic illustrations of Greek herbals served as models for Islamic artists, who simplified the plants and made them more symmetrical than their prototypes, in accordance with Islamic taste for ornamental design
Inscription: Definition: Arabic
Translation: Thamt: It may...from the aqwanitun and some people call it the killer of the wolf. It grows abundantly in the lands called Italy in the mountains which are called Awayestina. It has leaves similar to that of a plant which is called Ghutaris and twisted branches about an armslength long or a little longer. And it has fruits within elongated pods and black roots similar to the feet of al-arbiyan (or al-armiyan). It is used to kill flies for if it is placed in raw meat and flies eat the meat they are killed.
Notes: Translated by Y. al Taba, 1978

Marking: See additional card.
Mr. and Mrs. Lester Wolfe, New York (by 1962–65; gifted to MMA)
Washington. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. "Old Herbs," May 2007–August 2007, no catalogue.

Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). pp. 4-5, ill. p. 4 (b/w).



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