Comparative Guts

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Ca. 1660s-1681c. Lat. Fol. 95, unknown artist

This sketch of the “Viscera Man” was also based on a Chinese source (image 1), however, the artist remains anonymous. It was included in the only known extant manuscript (Ms. Lat. Fol. 95 preserved in the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin) of the 1682 printed Specimen Medicinae Sinicae. It illustrates significant differences between the manuscript and printed versions.

This sketch of the “Viscera Man” was based on a Chinese printed version from 1597 (image 1) and is included in the only known extant manuscript of the Specimen Medicinae Sinicae  (1682), the first translation into Latin of Chinese medical texts. Although the artist is anonymous, they clearly drew in a European style as one sees from the more three-dimensional version of the face, diaphragm (diaphragma), heart (cor), and spleen (lien). The Latin phrases – parva intestina and magna intestina – clearly designate the cloud-like formations across the abdomen as the small and large intestines situated between the stomach (Stomachus)  above and bladder (ureteres)  below. At this level of abstraction, the guts appear to have not needed any further translation.