dimanche 4 janvier 2009

The Wound Man

When you face problems in life, always think it could be worse. You could be the Wound Man, for example.

The poor buddy seems to appear in early XVth century medical books, and disappears in late XVIIth century. During his long lifetime, people have throwned at him knives, swords, arrows, cannon balls, hammers, wooden sticks, spears, and everything imaginable that can hurt really bad.

This facinating character was not at all created to make us laugh in a very cartoonish kind of way (though he totally does). His purpose was of course to teach medicine students how to deal with the most common wounds and injuries of the time, and he was always illustrating a text about the matter.

The Wellcome Library in London has a huge collection of Wound Men, and it seems (but I haven't seen it yet, shame on me) that our poor fellow appears in the story of "Red Dragon", featuring Hannibal Lecter (if you're reading this, Hanni : japanese tastes the best !).

Here's a small chronological gallery of Wound Man's misfortunes.

1420-30, GermanyCirca 14501495, Fasciulus Medicine, Johannes de KethamDis Is das Buch der Cirurgia, Heironymus Brunschwig1530, Feldtbuch der Wundartzney, Hans von Gersdorff, Strasbourg15631675, Arzneibuch, Austria or South Germany1678, A Complete Discourse of Wounds, Robert White

And finally a modern tribute from artist Owen Cunningham, depicting the gruesomeness of medieval warfare :

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