Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Xylothek ~ A Wooden Library

Have you ever heard of a xylothek? A few days ago someone had posted an image on Pinterest that piqued my curiosity ~ as the link didn't work, I did some more research myself. The word xylothek is Greek and breaks down to the following: xylon = tree and theke = storing place. So, a xylothek is a collection of wood specimens placed together in some kind of cupboard.

{images from here}

The first three images shown are from the wooden library at Alnarp, Sweden ~ there are 217 volumes in the set. This specific xylothek was made in Nurmburg, Germany from 1805-1810. Each book is made from the wood of a specific tree or shrub and contains specimens pertaining to that variety as well as a written description, biology, and practical use. What an amazing way to catalog ones research! Read more and see a few more images of the wooden library at Alnarp here.


I wasn't able to find very much information or images ~ just bits and pieces here and there, but I'll share what I found. Below is a similar xylothek to the one above ~ apparently the makers of the wooden library at Alnarp made multiple sets to sell, so this could have been one of the other sets.


(image from here}

{Image from here}

Below is another xylothek of a different style ~ this one seems a bit rougher, but still beautiful in its own unique way. Many of the sites where I found images were in German and didn't seem to contain much additional information. The two images below are from two different sources, but look as if they are from the same library.

{image from here}

{the rose bush ~ image from here}

{From a 200 year old collection of 130 volumes ~ image from here}

Last, a Japanese xylothek housed in a wooden cabinet. From what I could glean from the translated German, the cabinet was European built, but the individual "pages" were created in Japan. This version is unique in the fact that the images were painted rather than collected specimens. You may be able to get more from the translation if you read it yourself here. I would love to see any of these collections in person ~ they all look so interesting!

{images from here}

6 comments:

Administration said...

This is a great post -- well researched and really helpful. Thanks!

Bridgette Mills said...

so wonderful! Thank you for sharing

Julie said...

Thanks for visiting, Bridgette! You've given me a reminder that I need to start posting again!

Heather Harker said...

Here via Seth Apter, but. A really interesting blog, thank you

Jackie P Neal said...

Very cool~ I love learning new things and this is right up my alley being so organic and from nature! Thanks for your share!
Jackie ")

PocketSize said...

This is amazing! I got here through Seth Apter's Week Links too, and I'm glad I did! The xylothek is everything I love -- books, trees, and artistic arrangement of collections. *drool*