Some of the pages are missing, with around 240 remaining. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams. Some pages are foldable sheets.
The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. No one has yet demonstrably deciphered the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. None of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified.
Illustrations in the Voynich Manuscript :
A detail from the "biological" section of the manuscript
The illustrations are conventionally used to divide most of the manuscript into six different sections, since the text itself cannot be read. Each section is typified by illustrations with different styles and supposed subject matter except for the last section, in which the only drawings are small stars in the margin. The following are the sections and their conventional names:
Herbal, 112 folios: Each page displays one or two plants and a few paragraphs of text, a format typical of European herbals of the time. Some parts of these drawings are larger and cleaner copies of sketches seen in the "pharmaceutical" section. None of the plants depicted are unambiguously identifiable.
Astronomical, 21 folios: Contains circular diagrams suggestive of astronomy or astrology, some of them with suns, moons, and stars. One series of 12 diagrams depicts conventional symbols for the zodiacal constellations (two fish for Pisces, a bull for Taurus, a hunter with crossbow for Sagittarius, etc.). Each of these has 30 female figures arranged in two or more concentric bands. Most of the females are at least partly nude, and each holds what appears to be a labeled star or is shown with the star attached to either arm by what could be a tether or cord of some kind. The last two pages of this section were lost (Aquarius and Capricornus, roughly January and February), while Aries and Taurus are split into four paired diagrams with 15 women and 15 stars each. Some of these diagrams are on fold-out pages.
Biological, 20 folios: A dense continuous text interspersed with figures, mostly showing small nude women, some wearing crowns, bathing in pools or tubs connected by an elaborate network of pipes. The bifolio consists of folios 78 (verso) and 81 (recto); it forms an integrated design, with water flowing from one folio to the other.
Cosmological, 13 folios: More circular diagrams but of an obscure nature. This section also has foldouts; one of them spans six pages, commonly called the Rosettes folio, and contains a map or diagram with nine "islands" or "rosettes" connected by "causeways" and containing castles, as well as what might be a volcano.
Pharmaceutical, 34 folios: Many labeled drawings of isolated plant parts (roots, leaves, etc.), objects resembling apothecary jars, ranging in style from the mundane to the fantastical, and a few text paragraphs.
Recipes, 22 folios: Full pages of text broken into many short paragraphs, each marked with a star in the left margin
The overall impression given by the surviving leaves of the manuscript is that it was meant to serve as a pharmacopoeia or to address topics in medieval or early modern medicine. However, the puzzling details of illustrations have fueled many theories about the book's origin, the contents of its text, and the purpose for which it was intended.
The first section of the book is almost certainly herbal, but attempts have failed to identify the plants, either with actual specimens or with the stylized drawings of contemporaneous herbals. Only a few of the plant drawings can be identified with reasonable certainty, such as a wild pansy and the maidenhair fern. The herbal pictures that match pharmacological sketches appear to be clean copies of them, except that missing parts were completed with improbable-looking details. In fact, many of the plant drawings in the herbal section seem to be composite: the roots of one species have been fastened to the leaves of another, with flowers from a third.
Botanist Hugh O'Neill believed that one illustration depicted a New World sunflower, which would help date the manuscript and open up intriguing possibilities for its origin; unfortunately, the identification is only speculative.
The basins and tubes in the "biological" section are sometimes interpreted as implying a connection to alchemy, yet they bear little obvious resemblance to the alchemical equipment of the period.
Astrological considerations frequently played a prominent role in herb gathering, bloodletting, and other medical procedures common during the likeliest dates of the manuscript. However, interpretation remains speculative, apart from the obvious Zodiac symbols and one diagram possibly showing the classical planets.
Image Credit/Source : Google Images
Text Source: Wikipedia