Friday, October 03, 2008

The more things change, the more we stay the same

A fresh batch of medical students has recently started classes here at OHSU; med12 (as they are collectively called) is spending a lot of quality time in the anatomy lab this fall. Anatomy is a subject that can easily incorporate older literature because of the (nearly) unchanging nature of the human body. Some of our anatomy teaching faculty are quite knowledgeable about the history of anatomy and medical illustration, and make an effort to incorporate some original sources into their classroom presentations.

Last week's request was for some of the figures from Bartolomeo Eustachi's Tabulae anatomicae, of which OHSU holds a 1761 edition. Eustachi is widely considered to be one of the fathers of modern human anatomy, and is known today primarily for the inner ear tube which bears his name. One of the more unusual features of his images are the ruled edges, which allow for precise location of anatomical structures without burdening the image with letters or numbers.

Our copy lacks provenance information, so if you happen to recognize the coat of arms stamped in gold on the vellum binding, we'd appreciate hearing about it.

We've been working on getting more of these digitized images into the OHSU Digital Resources Library; a search there on "anatomy, artistic" and/or "medical illustration" will get you a list of what's currently available. Enjoy!

(Colored figures from the Tabulae are available from the National Library of Medicine, from their 1783 edition.)

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