Arabic Illustrated Manuscripts of Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica

Arabic Illustrated Manuscripts of Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica

  • 11 Apr
    2020

    Islamic Aesthetics

    Riyaz Latif

Arabic Illustrated Manuscripts of Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica

This talk centers on De Materia Medica, an herbal-pharmacological treatise attributed to Dioscorides Pedanius (flourished 50-70 CE), in the context of its production as a representative genre of “scientific” treatises in the premodern Arab-Islamic world. One of the most profusely reproduced manuscripts in the premodern Arab world, especially under the broad canopy of Abbasids (750-1258), De Materia Medica records over six hundred plants and herbs, thirty-five animal products, and ninety minerals, describing their medicinal properties, usages, methods of extraction and so on. In addressing concerns related to its production, reception, preservation, and propagation in the Islamic world, the talk intends to delve into the modes of visual representation related to the illustrations in these manuscripts, and explore the ways in which they may have been instrumental in documenting, utilizing and transmitting the botanicalpharmacological knowledge in the premodern Islamic world. In doing so, the talk seeks to appreciate the visual dynamic of scientific transmission on grounds of multilayered progressions: appropriation of scientific knowledge from the Classical world, and its enrichment through Arab contributions to science, thereby making these versions of De Materia Medica a distinctive cultural expression of the premodern Arab-Islamic world.

Duration -

April 11, 2020

Timing: 6:30 PM

Registrations will open on 11-Mar-2020

Riyaz Latif

Riyaz Latif

Dr. Riyaz Latif is an art historian of Islamic cultures, with particular concentration on premodern Maghrib (western North Africa). Currently Associate Professor at FLAME University, Pune, he has taught at Wellesley College and Vanderbilt University (USA). His academic writing has sought to address historical and visual processes of Islamic art; such concerns inform his book manuscript, titled Ornate Visions of Knowledge and Power: Formation of Marinid Madrasas in Maghrib al-Aqsa. He has also authored two collections of poems in Urdu, a book of European poetry in Urdu translation, as well as essays on literature.