Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”]. DISSECTION, OSTEOLOGY.
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].
Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].

A Dissection in Japan

Illustrated manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Kakukotsu shinkeizu” [“All the Bones of the Human Body Faithfully Illustrated”].

Numerous fine brush & ink paintings in many colors, including three folding plates. 29 folding leaves (265 x 180 mm.), orig. wrappers, new stitching. “Copied at Torinken Juku [which was founded by Genkaku Nakajima, the author of the Preface], Edo, in 1858 from a manuscript written in 1846.”

A finely and richly illustrated manuscript depicting the results of a dissection of a male criminal that took place in the winter of 1845. We learn from the explanatory notes at the beginning of the manuscript that the lead doctor of the dissection was Keishu (or Gendai or Gentai) Kamada (1794-1854), who had studied for five years with Seishu Hanaoka, the most notable Japanese surgeon of the Edo period and the world’s first surgeon to successfully perform surgery under general anesthesia. Considered to be one of Hanaoka’s star students, Kamada returned to his native island of Shikoku in southwestern Japan, where he immediately became court doctor to the Ozu fiefdom lord and was known as a remarkable surgeon. He performed many plastic, orthopedic, and pediatric surgical procedures and was especially regarded for treating breast cancer.

Kamada wrote the first textbook of clinical anesthesiology, the Mafutsuto-ron, in 1839 and created one of the earliest illustrations of surgery under general anesthesia in his Gekakihai-zufu [Illustrations of Surgical Cases], a casebook of surgical treatment he published in 1840. He also trained the world’s second anesthesiologist, Gensei Matsuoka.

Dissections were rare events in Japan in the Edo period and only about 34 such procedures took place before 1868. We learn from the text at the beginning of the manuscript that this is a record of a dissection of an executed male criminal that took place in 1845. Kamada was the lead doctor; he was assisted by several other doctors and observed by about 50 more doctors and students.

The introductory remarks state that Japanese knowledge of the osteology of the human body stemmed from Bunken Kagami’s magnificent atlas, the Kakkotsu shinkeizu, published in 1810. The Preface states that following the dissection of this body, the remaining corpse was thoroughly steamed in order to make it easy to cleanse all the bones of any remaining skin or tissue. The bones were left to dry for ten to twenty days. Models were made of the bones for future study of joint structure and function. The knowledge gained from this dissection greatly influenced future treatment of patients. An artist was engaged to faithfully render every bone and joint. The Preface states that this is an absolutely accurate record of this important moment. At the end, there is a list of the six doctors who performed the actual dissection: Kamada, “Matsuzawa,” “Higuchi,” “Matsuoka,” “Iwai,” and “Itokawa.” The Preface was written by Genkaku Nakajima, who had established a private school of medicine in Edo. This manuscript was copied in 1858 from a manuscript kept at the school.

The beginning illustrations of this fine manuscript depict the stages of the dissection, with images of a cross-section of the neck of the decapitated criminal, the decapitated body on a mat with the head nearby, the removal of the chest flesh to reveal the ribcage, the organs of the chest and abdomen, the removed organs and intestines tied and hung (front and back views), the emptied chest cavity, the heart (with cross-sections), the lung (with cross-sections), liver (with cross-sections), spleen, kidneys (with cross-sections), stomach (with anterior view), intestines, bladder, penis and testicles (with cross-sections), a partly dissected head, the skull from the rear, brain (front and anterior views), and a cross-section of the brain from the top.

The second half of the manuscript is concerned with the osteology of the human body, beginning with two views — front and back — of the skeleton of the criminal. There follows a series of finely drawn images of all the bones of the body, including skull (front and side), many views of the spine (front and back) with each vertebrae separately and minutely depicted, ribcage (front and back), individual rib bones, pelvis (several views), bones of the leg, bones of the hand, with “exploded” depictions of each bone, and the foot (several views from side and front and exploded).

Many of the illustrations contain additional commentary by various doctors, with remarks on similarities to illustrations in Western and Chinese anatomical textbooks.

On the penultimate leaf, there is a pasted-on slip with the seal of the Maebashi Fiefdom (in today’s Gunma Prefecture), next to Tokyo. On the final leaf there is an ownership inscription of two generations of chiropractors in Gunma Prefecture, whose family name was Ushigome.

There have been repairs to extremities of leaves but in fine and fresh condition. The three folding plates have been carefully backed. Preserved in a silk-covered board folder.

Price: $19,500.00

Item ID: 6691

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