Ɵ Ali ibn al-Abbas al-Majusi, Kitab Kamil as-Sina'a at-Tabbaiya (The Complete Book of the Medical Art) , copied by Salam'ullah bin Habib'ullah bin Muhammad, in Arabic, decorated manuscript on paper [Safavid Persia, dated 990-91 AH (1582-84 AD)]
single volume, two books bound in one, each of these with ten chapters (together 20 chapters), 600 leaves, one leaf lacking in final gathering (replaced in manuscript facsimile), textually complete, single column, 21 lines black naskh, chapter headings and important sections in red, catchwords throughout, each of the twenty chapters with an index of the 'bab' within and each with a separate colophon, first six chapters of first book misbound in nineteenth century (with book 1 bound after book 2, and the maqalas in Book 2 misbound in the present sequence 3, 4, 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), some very minor marginal staining to some small sections, occasional light mottling, a few outer edges repaired (only affecting the text of two leaves), overall very attractive and clean condition, 240 by 180 mm.; later leather over pasteboards, faintly pressed central medallions to covers, rebacked, edges a little scuffed
Exceptionally rare complete copy of a primary and fundamental work of medicine from the Golden Age of Islam, preceding and influencing Avicenna's Canon on Medicine
Produced for a wealthy and important patron in sixteenth-century Persia on fine paper, and in the hand of a single scribe, who names himself as Salam'ullah bin Habib'ullah bin Muhammad in a number of the colophons at the end of individual sections of the work. In addition, many of these colophons record dates of their completion showing that the whole codex took two years to produce (Book 1, maqalas 1 records a date of "Jumadi 990", while 2 has "Rajab 990", 3 has "Rajab 990", 4 has "Shaban 990", 5 has "Dey 990", 6 has "Muharram 991", 7 has "Safar 991", 8 has "Safar 991", 9 has "Safar 991", 10 has "Rabi Thani 991"; and Book 2, maqalas 5 and 10 record dates of "Rajab 991" and "Dey 991").
Ali ibn al-Abbas al-Majusi was a tenth-century Persian physician and psychologist, known in the west by his latinised name 'Hali Abbas', who is best known for this encyclopaedia of medicine. Al-Majusi was born in Ahvaz (southwest Persia) and was , perhaps, the most celebrated physician in the Eastern Caliphate of the Buwayhid dynasty, becoming royal physician to Emir 'Abdul al-Daula Fana Khusraw (reigned 949-983). The present medical treatise was compiled under Emir Khusraw's patronage, and hence is also known by the alternative title Al-Malikiyya (The Royal Book, or 'Liber Regalis' in Latin). Emir Khusraw founded a hospital in Shiraz and the 'al-Adudi Hospital' in Baghdad to show his support for the medical arts, and Al-Majusi was probably working in the latter in circa 981 AD, where he must have composed this work. He s thought to have died either c. 990 AD or 1010 AD.
This work was monumentally influential in Islamic medicine, and even had a profound impact in the West. It was first translated into Latin by Constantinus Africanus in the eleventh century, for use as a primary text in the medical school of Salerno, and then it was translated again in 1127 by Stephen of Antioch. Knowledge of the work was so widespread by the fourteenth century that he is named in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales , in which the Doctor in the prologue is described as "Well read was he in Esulapius, / And Deiscorides, and in Rufus, Hippocrates, and Hali, and Galen".
This text is divided into two distinctive books, and then these are each divided into ten 'maqalas' (sections), which are further divided into 'babs' (chapters), forming the twenty sections as represented here. The first deals with the theory of medicine, including anatomical structures (the physical structure of the body) and its physiology (the function of these parts), and the second examines the practical treatment of medicine, the application of medical treatments and surgery. Indeed, It is earliest known Arabic medical work to provide detailed instructions on surgical procedure.
Complete manuscript copies of this text are exceptionally rare. The vast encyclopaedic nature of the text made it an expensive commodity in the medieval world, and the volume of text included meant that it would likely have to be copied across multiple codices. The present example appears to have been bound as two separate books at the time of copying before being joined together in one large volume in the nineteenth century (albeit bound in reverse order with Book 2 preceding Book 1.