The library of antique books
The Aboca Museum's Bibliotheca Antiqua is a remarkable collection of valuable old books dealing specifically with the subject of the use of medicinal plants over the ages.
Each one of the 1,900 books in the collection documents a period in the history of mankind and man's knowledge of the use of plants for healing.
The books come from different epochs: the oldest ones, those from the beginning of the printing era and the newest from the beginning of the 19th century. In the past, the illustrations in herbals were essential to enable identification of the plant species.
With the passage of time these illustrations have become valuable works of art, enriching each treatise with colour and beauty, and bearing witness to the evolution of phytographic techniques. The printed herbals are texts that contain names and descriptions of herbs and plants, their properties and virtues.
The illustrations in them show how the artist/scientist rolled into one was able to put something beautiful, marvellous and minutely detailed onto paper, typical of a work of art used as a tool with strictly medical application. In other words, this is art at the service of health. Alongside the herbal botany books, there are many more books on pharmacology, chemistry, medicine and ancient medical secrets.
The latter record "the wisdom of the people" over the centuries.
The Aboca Museum Study Centre's final ambitious project is to collect old books on medicinal plants from all continents, in order to have the richest historical documentation possible.
The Library of Antique Books, located on the fourth floor of the Bourbon del Monte palace can be consulted for study purposes only by prior appointment.
For the research of botanical images click here