Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ancient Fauna of Nebraska, 19th Century

Oreodont specimen 

Joseph Leidy (1823 – 1891) was an American paleontologist, professor of anatomy and natural history at University of Pennsylvania and later on the Swarthmore College. Very prolific, wrote several treatises about extinct fauna in North America and was a pioneer on paleontology: named and studied –although discovered by William Parker Foulke- the first complete fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur ever recovered.
Mr. Leidy also announced discoveries on the field of Parasitologism and Protozoologism: In 1846 revealed that trichinosis was caused by a parasite in undercooked meat and published “Fresh-water Rhizopods of North America” in 1879. This codex is a masterpiece, still referenced and studied today around the world.
But probably the most amazing fact on his bio arrived in 1846 as a forensic innovator:  Mr. Leidy became the first person ever to use a microscope to solve a murder mystery, analyzing blood on suspect clothes that finally confessed when Leidy demonstrated the truth.

About the "Ancient Fauna of Nebraska", is a 126 page monograph presenting information on 20 new fossil species, most of these were unique to North America and differed dramatically from known European forms. After a brief introduction of the state of American mammalian paleontology, Leidy presented detailed descriptions and illustrations for a total of 15 mammals and 5 tortoises. Featured among these are an early camel (Poebrotherium wilsoni), an oreodont (Merycoidodon culbertsonii), two rhinos (Hyracodon nebraskensis and Subhyradocon occidentalis), and a sabertooth (Hoplophoneus primaevus).

For a high resolution, pdf version of this manuscript, contact me (facsimilium AT gmail DOT com).

Native north american rhino.

Turtle casing

Introduction and description of Bad Lands (Nebraska). See map below.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Astronomy calculations, 16th (?) Century

Original title for this rare codex is "Kitab hisab al-nimar wa huwa fi 'ilm al-nujum", that could be translated into English as "On the calculation of numbers in the science of astronomy". I found this nice example of arabic caligraphy in a collection of ancient manuscripts from the desert libraries of Timbuktu, Mali the legendary city founded as a commercial center in West Africa nine hundred years ago.

The codex explains mathematical calculations and their use in astronomy and astrology, and is a nice example of Arabic script, style developed in Timbuktu and the surrounding regions of Mali and West Africa. As far as I could investigate, manuscripts are digitized and published mainly thanks to Mr. Abdel Kader Haidara, Owner and Director of the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library. A complete catalogue of selected manuscripts from the exhibition is available on the web page, under "publications" directory. Looks like they're continuously working to complete digitized materials and a big work to do: another location in Mali, Jenne (in the Inland Niger Delta region), was like Timbuktu also part of the trans-Saharan trade route and became an important centre of Islamic scholarship, with a huge legacy of recent found islamic ancient books.

This codex, "On the calculation of numbers in the science of astronomy" is part of the Timbuktu Manuscripts family. The collection includes more than 700,000 medieval African documents, ranging from scholarly works to short letters, that have been preserved by private households in Timbuktu. The manuscripts were passed down in Timbuktu families and are mostly in poor condition. Some of the manuscripts date back to the 13th century.

In 2009, the French/German cultural TV channel ARTE produced a feature-length film about Timbuktu's manuscript heritage called (French) "Tombouctou: les manuscrits sauvés des sables" or (German) "Timbuktus verschollenes Erbe: vom Sande verweht". So far it's available online as part1, part2 and part3. Film was directed by Lutz Gregor.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

“Human muscles” 19th Century

This collection of human anatomy drawings was issued by German Architect (¿?) and Painter Anton Hallmann (1812 - 1845). The original manuscript is located in Nuremberg, but I couldn’t find information about Hallmann’s bio, probably because he died young, was only 33.
This collection of anatomy sketches is really inedited: most of Hallmann well known drawings are architectural paintings in oil like Fossa Nuova Monastery in Roma (1841), The King of Prussia Villa (1844) and several monuments and buildings in Munich, St. Petersburg, London and Paris. I found some of his drawings at (direct link with 2 examples, auctioned?), and also at -see oil on canvas arabic scene, auction pending for around 7000 EUR / 9100 USD, but for me the best drawing of all collection, issued one year before he died- on direct link here. My surprise arrived when I found a Hallmann's drawing on -direct link here- auctioned on March this year 2012 for only... 700 EUR (900 USD).
Some of the sketches available on this manuscript are: facial and neck muscles structure, sore muscles, trunk muscles, upper/lower arm muscles, forearm muscles, pelvic, high/lower leg muscles, foot muscles, several back & oblique views, etc.
For a high resolution, pdf version of this manuscript, contact me (facsimilium AT gmail DOT com).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Civil Architecture" by Eduard Mezger; 19th Century

Missing Architecture at facsimilium? At least I really was... This amazing collection of civil architecture sketches were drawn by Friedrich Eduard Mezger (1807–1894) a German Architect, Professor and civil Officer of the Royal buildings administration. Mezger studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (direct link to the academy as it is today founded in 1948, but this Bavarian Academy of fine Arts can be considered as the revival of the "original" Royal Academy, established in 1808). During this period at the academy, Mezger took part in some monumental works in Athens, Greece; promoted by the Academy. After his return in 1833 from Greece, He became professor in civil engineering at the Technical University of Munich (link here to the TUM as it is today), and then in 1846 became "Oberbaurat", that can be literally understood as "Top Architect Officer".

Apart of his sketches, Mezger's collection of aquarelles really impressed me first time I saw it. Following my investigation, I could find that some of them were auctioned by Sotheby's in May 2004, with an average price of around 5.000 EUR (6.500 USD)... fair isn't it? More info see Arcadja web page, link here. Type "Eduard Mezger" on search by artist window (3 results). I couldn't obtain same results by a direct search on Sotheby's (¿?).

For a high resolution, pdf version of this manuscript, contact me (facsimilium AT gmail DOT com).

Amazing aquarelle, see left hand side light entry effect, mixed with colour -turquoise- intensity on top..