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Taqwim al-Sihhah bi’l-Asbab al-Sitta

(Maintenance of Health Through Six Methods)

  • Accession Number:AKM516
  • Place:Iraq or Syria
  • Dimensions:Folio: 30.1 x 20.5 cm
  • Date:1344
  • Materials and Technique:Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper

According to Ibn Butlan’s Taqwim al-Sihhah, the maintenance of good health is dependent on six elements: the quality of air; healthy eating and drinking habits; exercise and rest; sleep; the balance of the humours; and the moderation of joy, anger, fear, and distress. While the theory of humours inherited by Muslim scientists from the Greek physician Hippocrates (died 370 BCE) was discredited by medical discoveries in the nineteenth century, Ibn Butlan’s reasoning for health and hygiene based on a moderate lifestyle still resonates today. His treatise includes various tables that list types of habits, environments, drinks, and foodstuffs and link them to physiological effects on the body. Taqwim al-Sihhah was translated into Latin in Sicily in 1266 under the title Tacuinum Sanitatis and from there became popular in Europe.

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