Written within fifteen years of the death of its author, this manuscript is one of the earliest surviving copies of volume five of the Qanun [fi’l-tibb] (Canon [of Medicine]) by the Persian scholar Ibn Sina or Avicenna (died 1037), as he is known in the West. Ibn Sina wrote a five-volume encyclopedia that brought together the Greco-Roman medical knowledge of Aristotle (died 322 BCE) and Galen (died circa 216 CE) with the advances in Chinese medicine of his time. Avicenna’s Qanun was translated into Latin in Toledo, Spain, in the thirteenth century. It then became the most influential medical encyclopedia and was taught in European universities well into the eighteenth century. The Aga Khan Museum’s collection also contains volume four of this rare copy of the encyclopedia.
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