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Re: VMs: Re: Plants in the VM - "scribe gone wild"

Hello Peter,

you wrote:

>Suppose that this was one page from the VMS. Imagine that the lettering is
>Voynichese and not ordinary Italian. Wouldn't we all be puzzled by the weird

Your pictures are in comparison with the VM rather isolated examples, but I am sure that we could
 find  quite a number of them elsewhere. But we are here discussing that part of the VM, which is
 generally considered to be herbal  - apparently the tags  written next to plants are mentioned in
 the text too (that may also explain  the higher rate of repetitions in that part of the text than
 anywhere else ). 

 The single purpose of the pictures in common  herbal is quite clear - the real plant should be
 recognized in order to be collected.   As much as we all agree that the author was no painter, we
 can clearly see he was not stupid either. He draw for instance  high number of different leaves -
 while the painting antitalent would probably manage  to do 5 or 6 types only, even when copying,
 being driven by oversimplification. The pictures of persons in the VM are - on the contrary -
 quite recognizable, in spite of being much  worse than the pictures of plants :-). So he was surely
 observant enough. Providing he draw the plants from specimens, he could not draw something he
 did not see - he could make it inaccurate, out of proportion or slightly out of shape, but he
 would not draw the rose like the daisy.   I am sure that if we make an experiment and let several
 school children  draw the dandelion by observing the sample, we would recognize all of them.  Let
 them do it from memory and we have quite different story. Still, most of them we would probably still

>So my hypothesis is that the VMS is just such a case of a scribe who could
>write, but who couldn't draw - and did it anyway. Strange as they may be,
>the illustrations are still built from the "common gene pool" of book
>illustrations, but they're executed without much skill.

 Well, they must be drawn well enough, if we recognize that they are from the same gene pool :-).  They
 are surely accurate enough to be recognizable by experts, if they do exist - they have enough
 indicators, after all.   But it is the experts who are puzzled.
No, it is not their inaccuracy, shape, scale or what not - we simply do not see any existing plant. 
 And almost none of them was identified with reasonable certainty - one would assume that half, or
 say ten percent of them, even if  very badly drawn, but none? You can hardly say the reason is just a
 poor skill of the author. As an amateur painter, I can assure you that when it comes to painting
 the  object you see, it is rather the question of observation than that of the skill. 

And it is the sharp observation which is a trademark of a good botanist and even if he has no extra
 skill, he would draw the plant such way that with given tolerance, we would be able to recognize
 it. Not so with the VM, where beside the low skill, we would have to assume that the author was
 very poor observant.  Still, his pictures have all details!!!

The experiments with right half of the brain show that even the non-talented, non-skilled person
 can draw rather accurately ( for instance if you let him copy the picture upside down). And if he
 copies the picture of horse, he is not drawing an elephant. What we get will have four legs, long
 tail and more or less horse-like head. The picture may be so distorted that it looks more like a
 dog, but it would not have  lizard's tail or horns or claws instead of hoofs. We will probably say: he may have meant the horse or something similar, but it sure does not look like! Now with those plants
 it is different: we can clearly recognize the parts, nad they have probably the right proportions, but it
is  the total which does not fit. It is
 like if we draw lion with wings, e.g. sphinx.  It does have animal parts all right, but nobody saw
 it yet (alive, anyway :-). 

>There's a way to prove it - simply by collecting more of these examples (and
>I have some more up my sleeve). But is there a way to disprove it?

Unfortunately you cannot prove it by underestimating the author either - after all, your
 research shows that the text is rather sophisticated, even if it may not look like it.

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