From the uncertainties that characterise our evaluation of the first few thousand years of the study of the hand, we are suddenly plunged into a situation where we have considerable documented evidence of the nature of the actual practice of handreading. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the study of the hand is widely accepted within both the popular mind and within intellectual and educated circles. Consequently we find that there are many treatises and manuscript documents of this period which contain sections, if not whole chapters, on the subject of chiromancy.
The main body of extant mediaeval manuscripts on chiromancy in England are to be found in the British Museum in London, at the Bodleian Library and in the libraries of colleges at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. A considerable number of chiromantical manuscripts can also be found in the libraries and academic institutions of Europe. In total, there would seem to be something in the region of about one hundred extant manuscripts or texts on chiromancy written before the beginning of the sixteenth century.
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