Folio on Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica
September 1595 CE
Watercolour on paper
40 x 25.7 cm
This folio is a Persian translation of the book De Materia Medica (medical material) by the Greek physician Dioscorides. Completed in the second half of the 1st century, it details the properties and preparation of medicinal plants. Originally written in Greek, the first Arabic translation was made in the 9th century in Baghdad, after which the work spread throughout the Islamic world, laying the foundation for the study of botany and pharmacology in West Asia. Arabic versions of Dioscorides’ text provided the basis for translations into Latin, Persian and Armenian.
Philippines, Lake Mindanao region,
early or mid-20th century
112 x 101.5 x 110 cm
The Prophet Muhammad rode the Buraq to fly through the heavens in a single night (a journey known as Mir'aj). Although depictions of the Buraq appear in art of the Islamic world, sculptures of the creature seem to be unique to the Philippines. It is possible that the flourishing carving industry of religious images for Catholic Filipinos may have encouraged the making of such sculptures.