The “Wound Man” in Two Recent Acquisitions

Circulating Now from NLM

By Margaret Kaiser

The “wound man” was a most popular image, especially in early printed books. Pierced by a variety of weapons, he demonstrated the possible wounds and injuries a physician might be called on to treat. Two of the Library’s recent sixteenth century acquisitions have examples of the “wound man.”

The first is from Joannes de Ketham’s In disem biechlin find ma[n] gar ain schöne underwysung un[d] leer wie sich die Cyrurgici oder wundartz gegen ainen jeglichen verwundten menschen, Es sey mit schiessen, howen, stichen… [In this booklet one finds a nice instruction and teaching of how the surgeons or wound doctor towards any wounded person, be it with shots, strikes, slashes…], circa 1515.

Title page printed in red and black, with ornamental border; title above "wound man" illustration. The figure of a man whose body has been pierced by a variety of weapons swords, knives, arrows, and clubs. He is also being bitten by a dog, a scorpion, and a spider.This book is a very early edition of the translation into German of Ketham’s Fasciculus medicinae, a collection of medical texts, and the first printed book to contain anatomic illustrations. All of the editions…

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