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in the History of Medical Literature”


“one of the First , Extensive Descriptions of Leprosy”

Gerßdorff, Hans von, named Schylhans. Feldtbuch der Wundtartzney (Field Book of Surgery). Strasbourg, Johann Schott, 1517, vorm winter kalt. Sm. fol. 4 n. pag. ll. preliminary matters, 98 (incorrectly 95) ll., (imprint). With numerous partly figurative initials,

2 folded & c. 22 full-page woodcuts

and 1 text woodcut by Hans Wechtlin I (1480/85 Strasbourg after 1526). FACSIMILE EDITION (sm. fol., 11⅝ × 8¼ in [29.5 × 21 cm]) along with accompanying booklet in German (sm. 4to, 8 pp. incl. wrapper, stitched). Stuttgart, Edition Medicina Rara, (1974). Hand-bound heavy orig. leather on 5 raised bands with beveled board edges in the manner of particularly the old wooden board bindings, gilt tooled title on spine and rich ornamental blind tooling on both boards in brown orig. board slipcase lined with dark brown velour.

(Haller, Bibliotheca Anatomica, I, 156; ADB IX, 57; Thieme-Becker, Künstler-Lexikon, XXXV, 233 ff.). – From the copy of University Library Heidelberg and that of a private collection. – No. CXC/300 copies of the de-luxe edition in leather numbered in Roman by hand (total edition 2800 copies, the 2500 ordinary copies of which in h. leather numbered Arabic). – As good as new.

FIRST EDITION , still utterly in the incunable style, of this classic “surgical textbook primarily meant for field surgeons” which

“ Against the similar work by Brunschwigk … notwithstanding (its) far lesser extent

“ excels to the best advantage

by a greater degree of scientificity, by independence and impartiality in judgement, and

by richness of the content ;

in the same there is one of the first , extensive descriptions of leprosy”

(A. Hirsch 1879 in ADB). – Among the repeated editions and translations expressly worth mentioning De Chirurgia & Corporis Humani Anatomia in Latin, Frankfort 1551.

Lead by Cosmas & Damian as title woodcut, Wechtlin’s set for once “still reminds of mediaeval pictorial themes”, yet more essential in its manner

“ how men and operation scenes are depicted …

The physician no longer appears in the scholar’s representative robe, but always in ordinary dress – solely referring to the patient and his treatment.

The pictorial rendering of an amputation

is the first in the history of medical printing ,

apparently inspired by Gerßdorff himself … (The Dürer pupil) Hans Wechtlin (as) illustrator (finally) can justly be regarded as

pioneer in the field of modern anatomical drawing

evident not just by the representation of the instruments and their use …

The important change in technique and style of the woodcut which Wechtlin (varied forms of spelling up to Vuechtelin [Nagler]) realized in the field of medical illustration, shows among others in the design of light and shadow, which imparts three-dimensionality to his representations … The folding plate in front of I and the chart XIIIr show Wechtlin’s personal interest in anatomy and the medical study of the body with its organs. Gerßdorff reports that this was

based on the illustrator’s exact own knowledge

who 1517 had attended the dissection of a condemned criminal at Strasbourg. That was rare in this time and had models only in Italy. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) had been the first to attend dissections … ”

Originating from Silesia, Gerßdorff (d. 1529) himself was a virtuoso in his field. Instructed by a surgeon at Strasbourg, he practiced there as surgeon for 40 years, interrupted by the campaigns of 1476/77 against Charles the Bold of Burgundy in Switzerland & Alsace/Lorraine he had taken part in. The rich experience gained especially with the injuries by the new firearms found their expression here.

Offer no. 29,012 | EUR 270. | export price EUR 257. (c. US$ 311.) + shipping