Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Rare manuscript in brain exhibition

Manuscripts and archive manager John Hodgson looks through a 19th century book about the brain at John Rylands Library in Manchester

A rare medieval manuscript with one of the world's oldest known depictions of the human brain is set to go on display.

The manuscript, along with a 19th century book which compares the brain weights of famous public figures including a journalist and a mathematician, are among the loans from the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester for a forthcoming exhibition on the brain at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester.

It will be the first time that On The Body And Soul, an anonymous manuscript written in 1495, has gone on public display in Britain.

The library has also loaned The Brain As An Organ Of Mind, which was written in 1890 by H Charlton Bastian, and depicts a table of 23 Brain Weights Of Distinguished Men, from the 63oz brain of the German poet, philosopher and playwright Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) to the 43.2oz brain of a mineralogist.

The brain of a journalist is also depicted and discussed.

Documents related to the world's first production brain scanner in Manchester and the discovery of the fraudulent early human fossil Piltdown Man are among other items in the exhibition, including real brains, artworks, manuscripts, artefacts, videos and photography.

Marius Kwint, curator of Brains, said: "Manchester has long been at the forefront of brain research and treatment.

"The brain - or at least its importance - is very much a discovery of the modern age, and its exploration will keep us busy for decades to come.

"So it's not surprising that the city at the hub of the industrial revolution has such rich resources for finding out about the brain and its history."

Brains: The Mind As Matter will open on July 26.

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