I love interesting words. Their meaning, where they come from. When I came across a picture of a wooden book with the word xylotheque as a caption, I thought that I had better Google that one. Oh, what a treasure trove I found.

Xylotheque: from the Greek xylon (“wood”) and theke (“storing place”). Essentially, a book-shaped object made of wood, containing inside of it samples relating to the species of wood from which the book is made. Imagine an object that intercepts knowledge of botany and love of books, with a little crafting thrown in for good measure. A creative wooden book containing related treasures. I’m so excited. Too bad I’m a couple of centuries late to get in on the craze, but thanks to Google I can ooh and aah over these magical objects that existed primarily in turn of the 19th century Germany.

xylothek pine
“Pine” from the Berleburger xylotheque http://www.lwl.org/pressemitteilungen/mitteilung.php?urlID=19514

The book is made of the wood of the tree, and inside are samples of moss, lichens, flowers, seeds, dried leaves, branches and bark. The compartment in the center contains a written description of the tree including its biology and practical use.

A library of trees. I want to touch every one of them.

xylothek strahov monastery
Strahov Monastery Xylothek in Prague
xiloteca manuel soler
Xiloteca Manuel Soler in Dania, Spain