Folio 34v – musk root

The Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) is also known as ‘musk root’, because of its musky smell. This opens up more possiblities for a match of the animal shape of the roots: musk deer.
There are multiple tales of how the musk deer was able to produce musk by eating the Spikenard plant. A number of them are mentioned by Anya King in “The musk trade and the near east in the early medieval period”.
The references she uses are mostly from arabic and persian sources. In persian and arabic the Spikenard is called “sunbul” or “sumbul”, though this name is used for several other plants too. A more specific name is the arabic “sumbul-al-hindi” (sumbul from India), or “sunbul al-tib” (the medicinal sunbul).
An arabic connection for the Voynich manuscript wouldn’t be too bad. I have already been looking at the many names in the manuscript that start with ‘o’. This really brings to mind the arabic ‘al’ that is attached to many words and names.

The connection between the Spikenard and the musk deer is a strong one, I think. An extra spicy clue might be that only the male musk deer posess a musk gland; and the picture of the roots in f34v hints at male animals…

If I had to pick the image on the recipe pages that matches best the plant shown on f34v, I would go for the one on page f99v labelled “chor.olekor” (EVA). “chor” is a voynich word that can be found on many pages. There are two versions of the word, that EVA doesn’t really make a distinction between. They look like this:

the second one could be called the ‘accented’ version and might actually represent a totally different word. The “chor”of the recipe page (f99v) is unaccented. However, “olekor” seems to be a unique word in the document.

On page f34v, there is a word that appears multiple times: “(q)oldar” (EVA). This word also is the label of another plant in the recipe section, on page f88r. I didn’t spot this before, but since I last worked on these posts I found an integral text of the manuscript in EVA and this helped me a lot.

The “oldar” word is in the center of the image and it refers either to the plant on the left (which has more or less an animal shape) or on the right (which resembles the actual spikenard roots).

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One Response to Folio 34v – musk root

  1. I think the word oldar refers to the picture of left. if we look at the full picture, we see that the first label may be a title for all of the products described, and the individual labels are to the right of each picture.
    The two words that you presented, have the same letters.

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