Trace the history of Islamic medicine at the Al-Tibb: Healing Traditions in Islamic Medical Manuscripts exhibition. Throughout the Islamic Golden Age, a period stretching from the 8th century to the 15th century, Muslim physicians and researchers pushed the boundaries of medical science, making groundbreaking discoveries that would change the way the world looked at medicine forever. Science advanced by leaps and bounds, and curative inventions pushed the medical field into bold new areas.
Having started its year-long stint at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia last month, the Al-Tibb: Healing Traditions in Islamic Medical Manuscripts exhibition presents a comprehensive look at the birth and growth of Islamic medicine, showcasing a priceless range of artefacts, manuscripts, and important objects that helped greatly advance the field through the ages.
While visitors will be taken on a holistic journey that illustrates how areas like pharmacology, dietetics and hygiene were vastly improved, they will also have the chance to gaze at an unprecedented collection of elaborate works by prominent physicians, philosophers and scientists of the Islamic world.
Some of the earliest coloured anatomical drawings are proudly displayed next to a medical encyclopaedia by Ibn al-Nafis – the first physician to discover the pulmonary circulation of the blood. Holding pride of place among the exhibits are those highlighting the close relationship between Royal Physicians and the sultans of the time. A range of treatise by these individuals can be scrutinised, including one drafted by the eminent Persian physician Isma’il ibn al-Husain al-Jurjani, who served under the ruler of Khwarazm (modern-day Khiva, Uzbekistan).
Finally, the exhibition caps off with a compact selection of works from the Malay Archipelago that show how illnesses such as yaws, malaria and typhoid affected the Malay populace of the 19th century. A section devoted to Malay traditions of healing and practices of folk medicine are also included here.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum offers its latest publication, which provides an in-depth analyses of 42 manuscripts of various medical subjects. If you’re looking to dig deeper into the world of Islamic medicine make sure to pick up a copy of this at the gift shop before departing.
Al-Tibb: Healing Traditions in Islamic Medical Manuscripts
Where: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
When: 10am-6pm (Ongoing until 31 December)
Admission: RM14 (adult), RM7 (student and senior citizen)
Tel: 03 2274 2020