“Field Book of Surgery. The Wounded Man.”

August 20, 2010

"Uh, little help?"

We’re deep on deadline here at BRI headquarters, and I’m just polishing up a page on fascinating brain facts—”Your brain is so soft it can be cut with a butter knife” is a fun one. I just came across this bit of info: The earliest known realistic depiction of a human brain was made just 500 or so years ago. Imagine that. Of all the tens of thousands of years that modern humans have been around, we didn’t, at least according to the article linked, get a good drawing of that most vital of organs—the brain—until just a few centuries ago. Almost makes you feel young, doesn’t it?

The depiction, a woodcut, was done by early 16th century German artist Hans Wechtlin. He did the wonderful work above, along with other gruesome delights, for pioneering German surgeon Hans von Gersdorff, for his book Feldtbuch der Wundartzney—or “Field-book of the Wound-doctor”—in 1517. You can see more about him, with more images, at “Parallels in Early Human and Horse Medicine.” (Nay!)

Our favorite image, by far:

The look on the guy’s face is killing me. To say nothing of him!

More here.