Previous Exhibitions

The Colic Leaf

In the manuscripts collection at the National and University Library of Iceland, you may find a 400 year old vellum, dark and obscure with age, with the shelfmark Lbs fragm. 14. This vellum is now exhibited at the Culture House.

I exorcise thee gout and colic away to flee, I dare thee, I subdue thee, kill thee, colic.

The text written on the vellum is in both Icelandic and Latin containing scripture in Latin with incantation in Icelandic in between. The text is an exorcism against colic and gout. Exorcisms have existed in all religions since prehistoric times when access to health care was scarce to say the least. Almost all vellums of this nature were destroyed in the witchhunts of the 17th century. The Colic Leaf is therefore a unique testament to people´s attempts to cure diseases with methods the authorities sought to eradicate.