The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford is home to over 12 million items, some of which have been digitized on their fantastic Digital.Bodleian website (featured in the 07-31-2015 Scout Report). Understandably, the sheer number of rare and historic items in the collection can sometimes feel a little daunting. Enter the unique Bodleian Treasures exhibit, which features just 42 items in the collection arranged into 21 thoughtfully curated pairs. Each of these pairs features a famous letter or document from the collection and an illustration of some kind, often from a natural history book. For example, William Shakespeare's "The First Folio" (which includes Macbeth and Julius Caesar) is paired with Opera - a work by the tenth century German dramatist Hrotsvitha. The treasure Navanitaka, which is a Sanskrit manuscript dating from approximately the sixth century that provides, "medical, divinatory, and magical treatises," is paired with a gorgeously illustrated Latin manuscript, dating from the late- eleventh century, that prescribed herbal remedies for various ailments. Why is this collection called "21 Pairs and a Tropical Forest"? In addition to these 21 pairs, this exhibit includes a trio of colorful images from three nineteenth-century natural history books that depict tropical flora and fauna.
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