Saturday, January 05, 2008

Half Life

Wound Man - 1460

Medizinische Texte und Traktate - (Cod. Pal. germ. 644) - 1460

Cod. Pal. germ. 644 - Medizinische Texte und Traktate - Süddeutschland, um 1460 jpeg a

Medizinische Texte und Traktate - Süddeutschland

Medizinische Texte und Traktate - Süddeutschland a

The famous Wound Man* together with the anatomy and phlebotomy diagrams and the urine 'connoisseurs' illustrations [see also: Tabula Urinarum] come from a collection of medical treatises from South Germany compiled into the one manuscript and dated from about 1460 - Codex Palatinus Germanicus 644 at the University of Heidelberg (click "Bll. 1-50" and then the "-" sign at the top of the page to view the thumbnail images).

By way of addendum (and very slight erratum) to the BibliOdyssey Book (p.133), this picture of the Wound Man predates the earliest printed version of the iconic medical schematic by more than thirty years. The version above is certainly (?!) the oldest version online.

I read in passing that this recurring profile of iconographic forms - zodiac man*, wound man, phlebotomy man et al - are thought to derive originally from manuscripts going back to the 13th century. The oldest printed version of the Wound Man is to be found in the 1491 latin edition of 'Fasciculus Medicinae' by Johannes de Ketham - notable for being the oldest printed book containing any anatomical illustrations, a book Leonardo was said to have owned/consulted. {See: here and here.}

Caricature of Carl Leavitt Hubbs when illness prevented him from taking the whale census

Caricature of Harald Ulrik Sverdrup

Caricature of Joel Walker Hedgpeth

Never let it be said that oceanographers don't have a sense of humour. These caricatures were found among the 10,000 photographs at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives at the University of California, San Diego. I seem to recall finding a few other oddities - Marshall Islands nuclear explosion greeting cards and the somesuch.

Das Bischofsamt als Gipfel der dornigen Tugendleiter - Dietrich Meyer about 165

This engraving by Dietrich Meyer from about 1650 falls within the realm of emblemata and comes replete with a range of puzzling allegorical motifs. It's (I think) ostensibly saying that the Bishop's thorny path up the pyramidal obelisk of virtue affirms the victory of life over death. (And/Or?)

Kampf gegen Sünde und Krönung des Siegers 1653

The good Sir Knight battles the Whore of Babylon* and the seven vices.
The engraving from 1653 is by Conrad Meyer.

Triumph des ägyptischen Joseph - Volkertsz + Heemskerck 1564

Joseph's dream of his triumph in Egypt (?) - an engraving from
1564 by Dirck Volkertsz from a design by Marten van Heemskerck.

Triumph Hiobs - Volkertsz + Heemskerck 1564

Known as 'Triumph Hiobs' (I presume Hiobs = Job, a la Old Testament),
this 1564 engraving is also by Dirck Volkertsz/Marten van Heemskerck.

These all come from the very interesting graphics collection at the Danube University Krems in Austria. (best way to view things is via the search - 'suchen' - page with easy to follow drop down menus). Although I would say that the collection tends to be predominantly religious in nature, it is more geared towards the allegorical and eccentric 'sky wizardry' types than regular Christian iconography. There is a fair smattering of portraits (including one of Fr. Kircher I don't think I'd seen before) as well as architectural and landscape prints around. (probably via Archivalia)

Jan Swammerdam - Bibel der Natur 1752 - humboldt print of month

From Jan Swammerdam's famed 1752 insect book, 'Bibel der Natur', one of the Object of the Month series at Humboldt University (I think these are drawn from the wonderful Natural History Collection)

Man sitting with wooden neck torture/restriction device. (1804)

Guards twisting prisoner's ears

'The Punishments of China' (1801/1804) by GH Mason at NYPL "looks like a cheerful children's book, but it provides graphic detail of ingenious cruelties devised to penalize thieves, disorderly women and translators who willfully misinterpreted others' words. The punishment for "committing fraud on merchants" was to be suspended face down on a canvas sling that could be tightened to back-breaking extremes." (for example)
Coincidentally, a copy of this book is presently on display in an exhibition at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles: 'China on Paper: European and Chinese Works From the Late Sixteenth to the Early Nineteenth Century'.

Enderung vn.d. schmach der bildung Marie 1514 k

Enderung vn.d. schmach der bildung Marie 1511

Enderung vn.d. schmach der bildung Marie 1514 a

Enderung vn.d. schmach der bildung Marie 1514 b

Enderung vn.d. schmach der bildung Marie 1514 c

This 1514 book from Munich State Library is very resistant to all my searching efforts despite my having saved some identifying details. It is a religious book of some sort. By that I mean that it may be something about the history of acceptance of Mary into Christianity as a Saintly figure, but there was also a relationship to Judaism if I recall correctly. My notes say: "[Impressum]
Enderung vn[d] schmach der bildung Marie von de[n] jude[n] bewissen. vn[d] zu ewiger gedechtnüsz durch Maximilianu[m] den römische[n] keyser zu male[n] verschaffet in der löbliche[n] stat kolmer. vo[n] da[n]nen sy ouch ewig vertriben syndt, [Straßburg] urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00011433-7 [1511]" I of course just kept the torture scenes which were very much in the minority - most of the woodcuts in the book were in fact rather more benign than these.

The trippy healing mandalas drawn on graph paper by Emma Kunz (1892-1963) were obviously influenced by her Swiss family of weavers and call to my mind theosophy and spirographs equally. [via Tomorrowland]

Other things....

For the benefit of the rss readers, here are all the digital library and resource sites from the sidebar (a few new ones added in the last couple of months)...

library of congress
british library
library france
library holland
library spain
library portugal
european library
library australia
collections canada
digital poland
nypl digital
botanicus digital
rare book room
britmuseum prints
smithsonian galaxy
casglu'r tlysau
rumsey collection
digital scriptorium
cesg manuscripts
digital book index
primary sources
online exhibitions
worldcat search
library directory
digital librarian
intute resources
herder institute
warburg institute
lexilogos links
digiwiki links
archivalia blog
book arts web
arts journal
alchemy website
health history links
history network
new advent


Terzio said...

The book with engravings of scenes of torture appears to illustrate a history of desecration:

1 .- The first recorded some Jews spit, will ridicule and offend an image of the Virgin in its chapel-altar.

2 .- The character hat with feathers, it seems to inflict torture one of the participants in the act (believe it is always the same type, with a beard).

Terzio said...

The engraving by Dietrich Meyer ca. 1650, it seems an allegory for the rise of a young episcopate and to the difficulties-hazards:

1 .- To the right (left in effect reversed itself engraving) appear vices, sins and sensualidades, as signs of death that would eventually ruin the vocation to the episcopate, with the death and burial as final. A shield on the cusp bears the motto: Things that lead to the downfall contempt (Me).

2 .- On the left side etching (within the meaning of the law itself recorded) the young aspirant climbs a scale of thorns, and has below virtuous acts (science, piety, prayer, charity and so on.). A hand at the top is around the theme: The things we hope.

3 .- Crown Pyramid slogan: With this until it reaches (the episcopate, symbolized by the mitre worn by the two angels).

This summary, because there are more elements and symbolism, of course.


Miss Kim said...

Holy cow! What a great post today! Really fascinating stuff!

Elatia Harris said...

Another astonishing grab bag. Someday you should get that prize they give for simulating randomness.

Unknown said...


peacay said...


Thanks particularly to terzio for a few more pieces of the puzzle(s). You may well be right about the desecration history - it fits with what I (hazily) recall reading about it. Can't believe all that info I saved blanks out on searches.

THE-FETCH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peacay said...

Bouwe, if you click on the name 'peacay' up near the top of the sidebar, the email address becomes clearer.

peacay ATT gmail DOT com

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