Voynich Clysters?

When I wrote and posted my last entry, The Voynich Manuscript in 3D, I left out one of the CAD 3D models I had made for an the object illustrated at the top of f80r. I was reminded of it recently due to a discussion on the Voynich Ninja forums, so I thought I would make a short page about it.

Here is the original image, from f80r, and my representation of it:In the past I had wondered if- because of the shape, the positioning, and the assumed medicinal nature of the images on these pages- if this may be related to… ahem… “clysters”, or enema equipment of some sort. Their use for medicinal “colonics” goes back practically to the beginning of recorded history.


I was reminded of my f80r 3D model because I was reading a thread at the Voynich Ninja forums, titled “The Thing as compared to the Other Thing”. The “thing” in question is the unusual object found in the images on f80v and f82r of the Voynich:
This reminded me of the other object on f80r which I had modeled, as it also seemed to me a possible candidate as a clyster. Note the above item is also held near the rear of the nymph in the second image, and the context of a possible medical interpretation on these pages I already pointed out.  It also has the shape of a bladder, which is one form of enema bag. So I commented about my ideas on the Ninja thread, and JKP pointed to the very same thought he had had back in 2016,

“In the 14th and 15th century enema bags (clystra) usually looked like giant hypodermics, or bellows, but some of them were bags, tied at one end (no stick coming out of the tied end though), but this earlier one nevertheless caught my eye even without the stick because of the line of dots:”

As JKP noted, there are on both the Voynich and above images a row of dots. The Voynich devices “ruffled” end could be interpreted as the bunched end of a tied off bladder such as this. The image is credited as “MS CLM 337”, which I could not find in color at first. However MichelleL11 pointed me to the color copy. It is in the The Mackinney Collection of Medieval Medical Illustrations, and can be seen at the following link: https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/mackinney/id/3841 The above image is on f131r

This is a copy of a “pseudo” Dioscorides, De Materia Medica in Bayerishe Staatsbibliothek, München. One interesting thing about that is that many people have noted strong similarities between other illustrations, writing and general style in various copies of Discorides and those in the Voynich. I think this item may be another example of this.

The identity and possible sourcing for these Voynich images does not affect nor relate to my personal theory that the Voynich is a modern creation, but I thought it might be of general interest. And of course many different identifications have been suggested for the f80v/f82r object(s). For some other interesting ideas, check out the above linked Ninja thread, and also Koen G’s interesting page on the subject of these and various held objects: https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/on-the-objects-held-by-voynich-nymphs/

 

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