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Japanese medical prints
INSHOKU YOJO KAGAMI [MIRROR OF THE PHYSIOLOGY OF DRINKING AND EATING]. JAPAN, MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY
two woodcuts printed in colour, each approx. 515 x 380mm., depicting the digestion of a woman and of a man, with printed text in Japanese hiragana containing some Chinese characters, the print of a man laid down, small hole at foot of the print of a woman
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Documentación

G. Lukacs, Kaitai Shinsho, the single most famous Japanese book of medicine (Utrecht: Hes & De Graaf, 2008), pp.61-65, illustrating the man

Nota del catálogo

TWO RARE COLOURED MEDICAL PRINTS, depicting the Sino-Japanese anatomo-physiological concept of digestion. The print of the male digestion is ascribed to the prolific woodcut artist Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865), and the woman is most likely by one of Kunisada's students. The woman is depicted in elaborate and colourful dress, smoking a pipe, and the man is drinking with a bowlful of food in front of him.

The course of digestion is shown by small figures within the torso of each person, being directed on each organ by Samurais to indicate the different stages through the digestive system.

In the neck, the forward canal is the trachea and behind it the oesophagus is shown. The two organs are separately illustrated in contrast to old Chinese anatomical treatises. The liver is illustrated pluri-lobed on the left side of the abdomen. According to the explanatory text, the gall-bladder assumes the function of an inspector controlling in proper order the condition of the entire body. After the food supply is worked up, it is carried to the spleen which, paradoxically, is located in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen. The heart is participating in the "burning process". In the centre of the heart a scholar samurai is presiding over the life process with two piles of books in front of him.

Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts

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