TAGLIACOZZI, GASPARE(1545-1599). De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem. Apud Gasparem Bindonum, juniorem, 1597. 32 cm tall.
Tagliacozzi studied under Girolamo Cardano at the University of Bologna. After graduating, he became a professor of surgery and anatomy at Bologna. This work, “Concerning the surgery of the mutilated by grafting,” is a classic in the history of plastic surgery and is especially noteworthy for its description of rhinoplasty.
Some form of rhinoplasty had been practiced in ancient India and, in the thirteenth century, by a family of itinerant Sicilian surgeons (the Brancas) who kept the operation a family secret. This became known as the “Italian Method.” This method was included in works by Vesalius, but he described it incorrectly. Tagliacozzi learned of it, modified it, and published De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem, describing his successes and failures of his own method in detail.
The volume is divided into two parts: the first, “Theory of the art of plastic surgery,” is about the structure, function, and physiology of the nose; and the second part, “Practice of the art,” describes and illustrates the instruments and operative procedures for restoration of the nose, lip, and ear. Tagliacozzi also fully discussed the complications, such as hemorrhage and gangrene, that often occurred during these operations.
It has 22 full-page woodcut illustrations showing Tagliacozzi’s method and surgical instruments. They are well-executed and illustrate many of the techniques described in the text. The immediate popularity of the work caused it to be pirated by another Venetian printer, Roberto Meietti, who issued it under the same date. This only touches on the interesting life and work of Tagliacozzi. Read more about him here.
The book is in great condition. One leaf is stained and a few others have browned a bit over time, but it is otherwise in excellent shape. The binding consists of a modern vellum pasted over paper boards. And the full-page illustrations are crisp and jump off the page with their detail and fun flourishes. This book was purchased by Dr. John Martin in 1977 and donated to the collection.
We also have an English translation of De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem by way of the 17th-century Scottish anatomist, Alexander Read.
If you are interested in seeing this or other items in the collection, please contact Damien Ihrig at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-335-9154 to arrange a visit in person or over Zoom.
Full newsletter including more information about Japanese scrolls and additional images.
UNKNOWN. Medicinal plants scroll from Japan’s mid-Edo period. Estimated date of creation is between 1727 and 1800. 29 x 800 cm.
English translation available.
The Medicinal plants scroll is, as its name suggests, a catalog of native Japanese plants, describing their habitats, flowers, fruits, and medicinal uses. Each brief description is accompanied by a handpainted illustration of the plant, usually in bloom.
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of Tsuyoshi Harada, our Japanese Studies Librarian, we have a detailed English translation of the scroll.
Due to Harada’s efforts, we have identified each plant, including Cyrtosia septentrionalis, also called Yamashakujo or Tuchiakebi, and Panax japonicus, or Japanese Ginseng. Unlike traditional ginseng, this guide recommends avoiding the very bitter root of P. japonicus and instead using the root hairs.
The scroll also includes references to other medicinal plant resources available at the time. We are excited to see if we can locate any of these as well.
The scroll is in excellent condition. There is very minor staining here and there, but the original paper is otherwise spotless. It has been rebacked fairly recently with a modern paper containing gold flecks. Replacing the paper support on the back as the scroll ages is a customary practice. Emakimono are not made from a continuous roll of paper, but rather equally sized sheets that have been cleverly glued together, combining long fibers that extend out each side of the sheets. The layers of backing paper then add support and durability.
If you are interested in seeing this or other items mentioned in this or earlier newsletters, please contact Curator Damien Ihrig at email@example.com or 319-335-9154 to arrange a visit in person or over Zoom.
This purchase was made possible by the generosity and foresight of Dr. John Martin to support the collection with an acquisitions endowment.