Sunday, October 7, 2012

Curious History: The Evolution of “Wound Man”

“Wound Man” is an illustration which first appeared in European surgical texts in the Middle Ages. It laid out schematically the various wounds a person might suffer in battle or in accidents.
Late medieval anatomy works often contain a standard set of illustrations, copied and recopied from text to text. Typically, these depict the body front and back; the skeleton and muscles within it each from the same two viewpoints, and so on. Strangest to our modern eyes is the illustration that usually comes last: the Wound Man, a compendium of all the injuries that a body might sustain. Captions beside the stoic figure describe the injuries and sometimes give prognoses: often precise distinctions are drawn between types of injuries, such as whether an arrow has embedded itself in a muscle or shot right through.

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