- Hardcover: 960 pages
- Publisher: Taschen GmbH (29 Jun. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3822812986
- ISBN-13: 978-3822812983
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 5.2 x 25.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,005,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Leonhart Fuchs Herbs (Klotz) Hardcover – 29 Jun 2001
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The chief attraction here, though, is the woodcuts. This is a facsimile of Fuchs's own, carefully coloured, edition of this early printed work. The line art itself is awesome, easily superior to that found in the edition of Culpeper I own, and allows those plants depicted in it to be easily identified by those who know them. The added colours, which graced only a handful of costly copies, are delicate and well preserved, and seem usually accurate. It is as much for these careful illustrations as for Fuchs's own text that this work remains interesting.
The text itself is in a nonstandard early version of High German, printed in a beautiful if hard to read Fraktur-style black letter font. As the prefatory material points out, Fuchs was a medical traditionalist, maintaining that Greek medicine was superior to the newfangled versions imported secondhand from Islamic countries, apparently because it partook of the pure wisdom of antiquity.
Fuchs fully subscribed to the doctrine of the four humours and the four elements, and his text is geared towards that theory. The indications of the medical virtues of the herbs reflect a shotgun approach; it seems there are few human ailments that aren't helped by some, often dozens of them. Empirically, we know now that some work better than others. A brief English commentary at the end discusses some of Fuchs's prescriptions, and considers the remaining validity of his theories about the virtues of the various plants in question.
This is a feast for the eyes, and at once scientific and arcane. Lovers of reproductions of classic books will want this, and herbalists or botanists may also enjoy it.
And, the PRICE is truly remarkable given the shape and size--and care--which was taken by Taschen to do an accurate reproduction.
Florilegium of the Renaissance were dominated by books on herbs compiled for use by the medical practitioners of the day, so the Reader must understand that the depiction of 'flowers' per se is inherently limited.
That said, the illustration of medicinal plants is nevertheless interesting, and the format--which Taschen faithfully followed--captures attention as it reflects the style of book publishing of the day when illustrations were done by hand colorized woodblock.\
This facsimile, therefore, is a historical curiosity and conversation piece.
I am grateful for this fine book by Taschen--and at such an affordable price!