Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Old Herbals

Old Herbals are just fantastic, they contain so much interesting historical and medical information about plants. I particularly like 'The Herball' by John Gerarde. It has now been scanned and made available at the amazing Kurt Stüber's Online Library:

A new herbal, or historie of plants (1619) by Henry Lyte is also available:

It’s well worth browsing the online library which contains a huge variety of mostly science related books on everything from botany to geology and mycology. Particularly recommended is "Die Radiolarien Tafeln" and "Kunstformen der Natur" by Ernst Haeckel.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tawaraya Sotatsu

Tawaraya Sotatsu (17th century died 1643) is in my opinion one of the great artists of the world and above is a small section of a folding screen produced by him. The image comes from the Tokyo national museum which is a shining example of providing worldwide access via the interent to high quality pictures of it's collection. Compared to the pathetic efforts of british museums it is amazing.

If you want to download a larger version of the above picture of get your hands on other pictures of the screen go to:
and in the lowest section of the search form (フィルム番号 in japanese) there are two boxes with C in from of them. In the left hand box type: 0028941 and then press the search button (containing red text). That should take you to a results page and clicking the top link will take you to the above image.

If you want to search for the artist return to the search page and copy and paste this: 俵屋宗達
into the third box from the top (labelled 作者). The best images of the screen start at C28931.

needless to say Sotatsu is not the only artist in the collection try searching for:

ogata korin: 尾形光琳
hasegawa: 長谷
koetsu: 光悦
liang: 梁
Tosa mitsunobu: 土佐光信
kuniyoshi: 国芳
Suzuki Kiitsu: 鈴木其一

Some Sotatsu links:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Mayan codices

An image from the Kingsborough edition of the Dresden codex that seems to represent a god formed from a mixture of various deities
I have been interested in the mayan civilisation for a long time so I was very happy to discover that FAMSI has made copies of all the mayan codices available to download:

The Dresden Codex
The Grolier Codex
The Madrid Codex
The Paris Codex

They are available to view online of download as PDFs which are up to 90 megs!
The magnitude of the destruction of mayan culture that followed the spanish invasion can be appreciated by the fact that these are the only four mayan codices in existance (although one must always hope that some more have been miraculously preserved)

There are also Aztec and Mixtec codices available (mostly just as images online) see complete list:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Interesting stuff in the Journal of Anatomy

The current issue of the Journal of Anatomy (November 2005) has a whole load of interesting papers. And best of all it is a free sample issue so everyone has access to the articles. My picks are:

  • Evolution of cranial development and the role of neural crest: insights from amphibians
  • Developmental studies of the lamprey and hierarchical evolutionary steps towards the acquisition of the jaw
  • Reassessing the Dlx code: the genetic regulation of branchial arch skeletal pattern and development
  • mechanisms facilitating the evolution of bills and quills
  • Deer antlers: a zoological curiosity or the key to understanding organ regeneration in mammals?

"Schemae of gnathostome chondrocrania demonstrating the conservation of an ordered series of splanchnocranial elements in the gnathostome bauplan. Maxillary arch derivatives are depicted in yellow,mandibular arch in lavender and caudal arches in salmon and/or white. The neurocranial chondrocranium is in light blue. " from 'Reassessing the Dlx code', for full label see the original article.