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Manuscript/Mixed Material [Encyclopedic manuscript containing allegorical and medical drawings].

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About this Item


  • [Encyclopedic manuscript containing allegorical and medical drawings].


  • An early parent to the modern almanac, these "monthly rules" are often found in astrologically focused medical manuscripts. In the Rosenwald copy, the twelve months of the year, titled in red ink for easy locating, border the central figure affectionally known to medievalists as "Vein Man." Instructions pertaining to each vein surround the body in a system of circles that connect to the pertinent point of the body via conspicuous red lines.
  • In the Middle Ages, medicine was very much intertwined with astrology and other nonscientific superstitions. This manuscript on vellum, produced in southern Germany around 1410, contains pen and ink drawings with explanatory texts in German and Latin. The first drawing shows the earth and seven planets. It is followed by Zodiac-man, a naked man shown with the 12 signs of the zodiac, each relating to a specific part of the body. Next are four bloodletting charts of the human body. Such bleeding charts or calendars were widely used in this period. They provided instructions on the optimum days on which to draw blood, and the body points from which to draw it. The very complexity of the instructions offered-they varied for different phases of the moon, different diseases, and different body points- lent a degree of credibility to an essentially worthless and often harmful act. The work concludes with drawings of the Tower of Wisdom (text in German); a man called Microcosmus; a man called Macrocosmus; the Tree of Virtue; Philosophy surrounded by the Seven Arts; stories showing the evil power of women; the Tree of Babylon (or vice); the Tower of Wisdom (text in Latin, on two leaves); and the Wheel of Fortune. This work is from the Rosenwald Collection at the Library of Congress. World Digital Library.


  • Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • [South Germany, ca. 1410]


  • leaf [1a] Earth and 7 planets.--leaf [1b] Zodiacal man.--leaf [2a-3b] Bloodletting charts of human body.--leaf [4a] Tower of wisdom (text in German).--leaf [4b] Drawing of man, called Microcosmus.--leaf [5b] Tree of virtue.--leaf [6a] Philosophy surrounded by the seven arts.--leaf [6a] Showing the evil power of women.--leaf [7a] Tree of Babylon (vice).--leaf [7b] Tower of wisdom (text in Latin)--leaf [8a] Continuation of leaf 6b.--leaf 8b Wheel of fortune.


  • -  Drawing--15th century
  • -  [South Germany]


  • -  For date and interpretation of the manuscript see the letter by F. Saxl, of April 5th, 1935, laid in. For other manuscripts of a similar type see his "A spiritual encyclopaedia of the Middle Ages: in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute, v. 5 (1942), p. 82 ff.
  • -  Label on cover: Die Kunst Ciromantia von Doktor Hartlieb ...1448, does not refer to this manuscript.
  • -  Manuscript on vellum. Gothic script in black and red. Pen-and-ink drawings, some slightly colored, with explanatory text in German or Latin. Subject matter and form of presentation is similar to that in 15th century woodcuts and block books.
  • -  Library of Congress. Lessing J. Rosenwald collection, 4
  • -  Bond, W.H. Supplement to the Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, 163
  • -  Library of Congress. Rosenwald Collection (1954), 3
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
  • -  LC copy has anonymous armorial bookplate and the visiting card of "The Honble. Mr. Clifford" mounted on front pastedown.
  • -  Formerly identified as Rosenwald ms. no. 3
  • -  LAC ddw 2023-03-14 update (1 card)


  • [8] l. ; 42 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Rosenwald 4

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 50041709

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. Encyclopedic Manuscript Containing Allegorical and Medical Drawings. [South Germany, 1410] Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. (1410) Encyclopedic Manuscript Containing Allegorical and Medical Drawings. [South Germany] [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. Encyclopedic Manuscript Containing Allegorical and Medical Drawings. [South Germany, 1410] Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.