Middle Eastern medical manuscript proves to be £70,000 saleroom cure

Middle Eastern medical manuscript – £70,000 at Bellmans.

Said to date from the 12th-14th century, an incomplete and dampstained Middle Eastern medical manuscript sold for £70,000 at Bellmans (22% buyer’s premium) on February 22.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

What it presented was just part of Book III of what is familiarly known in English as the ‘Canon of Medicine’ of Ibn Sina, or Avicenna (980-1037), one of the more significant and revered physicians, astronomers, thinkers and writers of any age or culture, and a man widely thought of as the father of modern medicine.

Running to around 60 leaves, it was a somewhat puzzling item in that it bore a later commentary in Armenian and, on the opening page (a later replacement) what was described as a fabricated colophon.

It names the scribe as a famous Abbasid physician, the place in which it was copied as the Adidu hospital in Baghdad and gives a false date of AH513, or 1120 in the Western calendar, said the cataloguer.

In a modern binding this fragment contains sections from the ‘Canon’ dealing with urology, diseases of the bladder, ailments of the womb, etc.