Werner Forman Archive looks at early science


Werner Forman Archive press release – 18 June, 2020.

Many different cultures made advances in science over the ages. From ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean world to the breakthroughs of China: silk, paper money, gunpowder, there are many fascinating images in the Werner Forman collection which will benefit educational or history books, television programmes and projects delving into the ingenuity of humankind.


Top (L-R)

Traditional well mechanism, Abu Dhabi. This wooden frame now reconstructed in Abu Dhabi’s “Heritage Village” was powered by camels and oxen and employed a wooden wheel on a pulley to hoist up a leather bucket. Country: United Arab Emirates.

Manuscript page with depiction of the owl and the symbol of antimony. The owl was considered by alchemists as the symbol of wisdom and darkness, while the antimony was thought of as the mother of all metals as it looked like one but did not chemically react as metal. From the Czech Republic. Date: 17th Century.

Bottom (L-R)

Islamic medical manuscript from the National Library in Cairo. A sketch of the eye with information for physicians. Culture: Islamic. Date/Period: Mamluk, 14th Century.

A celestial globe attributed to Shibukawa Shunkai, one of the greatest Japanese astronomers. Period: Late 17th C. Material:Bronze with a diameter of 55 cm.

The library is working remotely, if you have any picture requests please email wfa@btinternet.com.

You can search and download images from our site werner-forman-archive.com, or send us an email to wfa@btinternet.com with a request.

Picture credit: ©Werner Forman Archive