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VMs: Herbal construction hypothesis
I'd rather wait until all the VMS text is extracted from the plant drawings,
but since we're all speculating in different directions, I thought I'd throw
mine into the mix.
>From what I've been able to determine concerning the VMS text in plants to
this point, it is not either version of "herbalese" and also not "labelese".
That leads me to an hypothesis -
Most of us would agree that the drawings were done first. The question is
of course, how many were done at one time, or were they done in conjunction
with the text? I'd say several drawings were done ahead of time. The
labels are mostly inside the plant drawings, and in only once or twice
outside the drawing. What I think we have here are plant names, and
occasionally some identification such as "rot" or "f" or something else that
identifies the useful or pertinent part of the plant. These served as
reminders for the author when he went back and filled in the text.
I'm not going to join the party over who colored what, other than to say
that solid information needs to be outlined before I would consider the idea
of more than one hand being involved in the VMS construction. I'm not
particularly thrown by the color schemes, considering another herbal with a
blue dolphin in place of a root. In fact, some of the variations in leaf
color are intriguing. I have no problem with a mixture of brown, green or
olive leaves on the same plant. I also have no problem with plants that
have red, white or green leaves mixed together. Old herbals commonly list
plants that have two or three varieties, some with red and white leaves,
etc. , or different colored flowers. Combining useful information into a
single composite plant would follow a certain logical construction. So I'm
not yet sold that the colors are haphazardly applied or randomly chosen.
The colors are limited yes, and as Jorge pointed out, some of these at least
appear to be hand-made colors, so the palette would be limited by the skill
of the maker and the availability of ingredients. Hand-made colors are yet
another feature pointing to a personal, individual production, and not a
My two cents anyway.
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