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Catalogue: Pharmaceutics

Blue arrow pointing to the right Fī al-Sakanjabīn   (MS A 27, item 3)
(On oxymel)
فى سكنجبين

This copy of an anonymous treatise on the use of oxymel consists of the final five lines only of the treatise. The rest of the treatise is missing.

No other copy has been identified.

Physical Description

Arabic. 1 leaf (fol. 41a only). Dimensions 24 x 13.6 (text area 16.3 x 6.8) cm; 19 lines per page. The title is given on fol. 41a, line 1. No author is given.

The text was copied by the same scribe as recorded the first item in the volume, which was completed on 5 Rajab 992 [= 13 July 1584] by an unnamed scribe in Shahr Daylaman. The latter was a town in Persia in borough of Daylaman, which lay south-west of the large settlement of Lahijan close to the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, in the ancient Iranian province of Daylam (see the article "Daylam" by V. Minorsky in EI (2nd ed.), vol. 2, pp. 189-194).

The text is written in a medium-small, compact, elegant and professional naskh script in black ink with headings in red and red overlinings. The text area has been frame-ruled. There are catchwords.

The burnished, glossy beige paper has lightly scattered fibres, vertical slightly curved laid lines, and faint single chain lines (but no watermarks). The paper is waterdamaged and stained with thumbing and grease. The edges have been trimmed from their original size, and some of the marginal commentaries have been cut off.

The volume consists of 77 leaves. Fol. 1a is blank except for an incorrect title in a later hand and the trace of an owner's note. The first item (fols. 1b-38a) contains the anatomical sections from the Qānūn of Avicenna (MS A 27, item 1); the second item (fols. 38b-39b) is Kashf ba‘d al-lughah min al-Qānūn wa-ghayrihi, an anonymous commentary on terms in the Qanun (MS A 27, item 2); and the third item on fol. 41a is the short anonymous essay on oxymel here catalogued. The fourth item (fols. 41b-75a) is an anonymous treatise on prognostics (MS A 27, item 4), and the final item (fols. 75b-76b) contains magical procedures and invocations useful for illness (MS A 27, item 5). Fol. 40a is blank, and fol. 40b is blank except for an owner's note. Fol. 77 is a very different, more recent, paper, and is blank except for some owner's annotations.


The volume is bound in a brown leather library binding. There are modern paper pastedowns and endpapers.


On fol. 40b there is a note stating that the owner (malik) is Isāq, the physician in Damascus (tabib fi Damashq al-sham) in the year 1240 [= 1824-5]. On fol. 77a there are various owner's notations, including the statement that this volume is the Kanz al-atibba' (The Treasure of Physicians) belonging to al-faqir Ishaq the physician (al-tabib) in the year 1251 [= 1835-6] and another statement that this Kanz al-atibba' belonged to one of the skilled wound-healers (ahad min al-hudhdhaq al-sabur) Isāq Dhilā al-Yahūdī, medical practitioner in Damascus (al-mutatabbib fi Dimashq al-Sham); this is presumably the same owner. His assistant (‘abd) is named Ibrāhīm Ramanu tabib on both folio 77a and in yet another signature on folio 38a. On fol. 1a the title Kanz al-atibba' is repeated. On the basis of these owner's notes, Sommer incorrectly catalogued this manuscript as a copy of a treatise titled Kanz al-atibba' written by Malik Isāq, a Jewish physician of Damascus (see Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS., p. 306 entry A 27).

The volume was purchased in 1941 by the Army Medical Library from A. S. Yahuda who acquired it in Cairo. NLM MS A 23 was acquired in Cairo in the same lot. On the front endpaper several earlier labels have been pasted, including one giving the designation "ELS 1665" and two smaller ones "M[ed.] 44".


Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS., p. 306 entry A27 [this item is not described].

NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 48-117 no. 3.

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