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Codex Seraphinianus


Visionary or Hallucinatory Encyclopedia?

"Kunda, munda, karamunda,
Dunda, bunda, paramun"
serafini portrait The Codex
Acquiring the Codex
Codex Gallery
About Serafini
Related books
Voynich manuscript
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  The Codex Seraphinianus was written and illustrated by Italian graphic designer and architect, Luigi Serafini during the late 1970's. The Codex is a lavishly produced book that purports to be an encyclopedia for an imaginary world in a parallel universe, with copious comments in an incomprehensible language. It is written in a florid script, entirely invented and completely illegible, and illustrated with watercolor paintings. The Codex is divided into a number of sections (each with its own table of contents, the page numbers are in base-21 or base-22!) on subjects such as plants, animals, inhabitants, machines, clothing, architecture, numbers, cards, chemical analyses, labyrinth, Babel, foods... There are panoramic scenes of incomprehensible festivals, and diagrams of plumbing!
  The Codex is to that imaginary world what Diderot's Encyclopedia is to ours. Obviously, Serafini was not just attempting to create a consistent alternate world. Rather, the Codex is sort of an elaborate parody of the real world.
  The invented script of the book imitates the Western-style writing systems (left-to-right writing in rows; an alphabet with uppercase and lowercase; probably a separate set of symbols for writing numerals) but is much more curvilinear reminding some Semitic scripts. The writing seems to have been designed to appear, but not actually be, meaningful, like the Voynich Manuscript.
  At is best, the Codex Seraphinianus is really diverting and surrealist; at its worst, it is tedious, kitsch, and childish. This book was surely inspired by the Voynich Manuscript and designed with the spirit of Hieronymus Bosch in mind.

Codex Seraphinius Book CoverCodex Seraphinianus is a rare and expensive book, it can be ordered from If you want to see the Codex without paying that much, try your local library. University libraries should have it: the Library of Congress number is PN6381.S4 1983.


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codex script
An example of Codex Script
strange rainbows
Flexible rainbows
odd people 1
Strange people (1)
odd people 2
Strange people (2)
odd people 3
Road warrior
odd animal 1
Larval horse
odd animals 2
Ladybug melting
odd animals 3
Fish eyes
weird vegetables 1
odd flowers 1
weird botanic 1
Zoobotanic (1)
weird botanic 2
Zoobotanic (2)
walking bomb
Rocket circumambulation
boat of insanes
Boat of the Fools
spaghettata prospettica
Spaghetti grid
Shadow dissection
Bionic colors
spaghettata prospettica
Utopia of love
The images above are of property of Luigi Serafini, you can use them for your personal website. For commercial purposes, however, contact directly the rights owner.

Luigi Serafini is an Italian artist whose works all tend to be unusual. He has had works presented in several exhibitions, which works include paintings, sculpture and curious objects (see below). Serafini teaches graphic design at the Futurarium Art School in Italy.

egg sculpture
Inhabited fried egg (ceramic)
cows and egg
Good layer cows (photo)

arrow Pay also a visit to our Voynich Manuscript page...
arrow Strange anatomy by Tom Giesler...


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Publisher: Zanichelli

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by Stefano Benni
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