Comparative Guts

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Anonymous, K. Sharḥ al-Maqāma al-Ṣalāḥiyya fī l-Khayl wa-al-Bayṭāra

(Commentary on the Maqāma Ṣalāḥiyya on Horses and Venterinary)
Istanbul University Library MS 4689 – Egypt, 15th c.

Hyppiatry has a long tradition in Islamic literature. Works dealing with horses may adopt different literary genres and cover a wide range of disciplines, from veterinary sciences to the art of riding. As with treatises on human anatomy, the anatomical depictions of the body of animals are a late development. Several hyppiatric manuscripts have illustrations featuring the internal organs that seem inspired by the graphic model of Manṣūr ibn Ilyās’ anatomy, i.e. with flat representation of the body and its organs as seen from above. This illustration (Fig. 5) belongs to the Mamluk K. Sharḥ al-Maqāma al-Ṣalāḥiyya fī l-Khayl wa-l-Bayṭāra, an anonymous commentary of a didactic poem on horses written in late 13th c. The image depicts the flat silhouette of a horse seen from its back, with representation of some internal and external body parts, namely the heart, lungs, spleen, intestines, kidneys, testicles, penis, loins, and things. The depiction of the intestines in this case is rather geometrical, but other illustrations of horses have figurative representations.