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Big Green Data: Herbals, Science, and Art

Room 1020 - Oct-Dec 2019, Jan-May Spring 2020 EVL, Program TBD
Gallery talk: Thursday, October 24, 4pm in 1020

Dr. Farina's recent research focuses on the botanic world in pre-modern medicine, philosophy, art, and literature, specifically that of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The exhibit introduces viewers to historic herbals, the art and literature they inspired, and present-day correlatives. Illustrations from premodern herbals and encyclopedia with some from botanical works in the WVRHC Rare Books collection, and the WVU Herbarium are highlighted.

This exhibit features images of manuscripts housed in major research libraries. Some of these manuscripts have been digitized so that they can be viewed online.

You can view an eleventh-century English manuscript of Herbarium: ex herbis feminis held by the Bodleian Library of Oxford University (MS Bodley 130).

The British Library in London, possesses a luxe twelfth-century manuscript containing the Herbarium and other medical texts (Sloane MS 1975). Use the arrow keys above the viewing window to flip back and forth. Or you can simply take a look at some of the book's remarkable illustrations in this "Snakes, Mandrakes, and Centaurs" post.

Some images from early herbals in Arabic , together with information about botany in medieval Islam are also available.

The content of Big Green Data is based on the research of the exhibit designer, Lara Farina, published as "Vegetal Continuity and the Naming of Species," in a special issue of the journal postmedieval devoted to "Premodern Plants."

Exhibit Description