Scala/Art Resource, NY

This pharmacy scene forms the title page of a 15th-century copy of the Canon of Medicine, by the Arab scholar Ibn Sina (980–1030), known in the West as Avicenna (the volume is now in Paris’s Bibliotheque Nationale). One of the supreme works of Arab medical scholarship, the Canon was intended as a comprehensive medical encyclopedia, summarizing the work of Greek, Roman, Syro-Arab and Persian scholars as well as Ibn Sina’s own observations on physiology, diagnosis and treatment. As late as 1537, the Canon was used as a textbook at one of Europe’s most prestigious institutions, the University of Vienna.