Anatomical manuscript: the first coloured atlas of the human body

Mansur bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Yusuf bin Faqir Ilyas. Tashrih-i badan insan [The Anatomy of the Human Body, or "Mansur's Anatomy"].

Probably Mughal India, [1661/62 CE] = 1072 H.

4to (180 x 283 mm). Persian manuscript on paper, 33 leaves, 24 lines to the page written in small neat nasta'liq script in black ink, significant words and headings picked out in red, 6 main diagrams with numerous captions, 6 further unfinished or preparatory diagrams, probably used for teaching purposes. Wants binding.


A manuscript of the author's principal work, the "Tashrih-i badan insan": the first coloured atlas of the human body, the achievement for which the early 15th century Persian physician Mansur from Shiraz, Timurid Persia, is best known. The 12 diagrams illustrate the skeletal and the nervous system, the muscles, arteries, veins, and an embryo in the womb. While Mansur's "Anatomy" was not the first notation of the human body, it is considered the first colour atlas ever created. It led to a substantial change in the contemporary Islamic perception of human anatomy, as such an atlas had previously been considered contrary to Islamic law. Mansur is also credited with one of the earliest anatomical sketches of a pregnant woman: while his other illustrations are likely inspired by earlier Latin and Greek writings, the pregnant woman is considered an original work.

Some edge defects (remargined, with occasional loss to text), wants binding.