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“Al-Maqalatun Salasun” by Abulkasim Zakhravi

Al-Maqalatun Salasun is a comprehensive book about “Surgery and Surgical Instruments” written in Arabic. This manuscript is one of the rarest and most ancient manuscripts of this book in the world. The book contains pictures of approximately 200 medieval surgical instruments. Zakhravi (who died in 1013) is the only medieval author who provided pictures of so many surgical instruments, and explained their methods of application. This work influenced the development of surgery in the Muslim East and Europe. Abulkasim was born in Andalusia (Spain). For many centuries, Zakhravi's book was the most authoritative textbook on surgery both in East and in West. In medieval Europe, Abu al-Qasim was known as Abulcasis or Albucasis (the Latinized form of "Abulkasim"). Zakhravi wrote a medical encyclopaedia spanning 30 volumes that included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, nutrition, etc. This book was known as al-Tasrif and contained data that al- Zakhravi had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice. He apparently travelled very little but had wide experience in treating accident victims and war casualties. 

The most importance treatise is the one on surgery. This monumental work was the first in Arabic to treat surgery independently and in detail. It included many pictures of surgical instruments, mostly invented by Zakhravi himself, and explanations of their use. Zakhravi was the first medical author to provide illustrations of instruments used in surgery. There are approximately 200 such drawings ranging from a tongue depressor and a tooth extractor to a catheter and an elaborate obstetric device.  

The Baku manuscript represents the thirtieth volume of the book. This volume was translated into Russian and published in Moscow in 1983. It is written with Naskh and Kufi on white paper in black ink. The binding is of black leather. The manuscript was copied at approximately the end of the 12th century; the format: 18x24 cm, number of leaves: 459.