Medieval manuscripts in Dutch Collections
Medieval manuscripts in Dutch Collections

Flemish surgical instruments

Small manual for a surgeon, based on the Cyrurgie by Meester Jan Yperman (incomplete). Flemish. Paper, 130x95 mm. Flanders, last quarter of the 15th century. Leiden, UB : ms. BPL 3094

This Flemish book shows surgical instruments. Because images are often more practical than a detailed description, illustrations were included in the text, which describes how to treat certain ailments by means of surgical operations.

On the pages shown here (folios clxix verso-clxx recto) the treatment of a compound fracture of the leg is explained. The passage corresponds with the 32nd chapter of the 7th book of Jan Yperman's Cyrurgie.

This original book, written early in the 14th century by the Flemish surgeon Jan Yperman, who had received his education in Paris, distinguishes itself from many other medieval works of this sort by its often sensible approach to surgical problems. Several copies prove that it was fairly widespread and remained in use for a long time. The manuscript presented here is relatively young. The text was thoroughly revised and rearranged. Some parts appear to have been borrowed from other sources. Which exactly, is not yet known; the manuscript was only recently discovered and has been studied only superficially so far.



  • Edition: E.C. van Leersum (ed.). De 'Cyrurgie' van Meester Jan Yperman. Leiden, 1912.
  • J. Deschamps. Middelnederlandse handschriften uit Europese en Amerikaanse bibliotheken. 2nd. edition, Leiden, 1972, nr. 95.
  • R. Hogervorst. 'BPL 3094, een anoniem chirurgisch handschrift. Een kopie van Jan Yperman?' In: Scientiarum historia. Driemaandelijks tijdschrift voor de geschiedenis van de geneeskunde, wiskunde en natuurwetenschappen 21 (1995), pp. 3-12.

See also

  • A psalter from Royal libraries

    Psalter. Latin, Parchment, 185 ff., 245x177 mm. Northern England, 1190-1200. Leiden, UB : ms. BPL 76 A

  • The Zwolle bible

    Bible. Latin. Parchment, 6 volumes, c. 530x390 mm. Brethren of the Common Life, Zwolle, 1464-1476. Utrecht, UB : Cat 31 and 15.C.11

  • The Utrecht Psalter

    Psalter. Latin. Parchment, 91 ff., 330x255 mm. Benedictine monastery of St. Peter, Hautvillers near Reims, c. 820-835. Utrecht, UB : Cat. 32 / 1

  • A child’s alphabet

    Alphabet and prayers. Latin. Parchment, 4 ff., 208x151 mm. South Holland, c. 1480. The Hague, MM : ms. 10 D 34

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