[2008-01-18] Personal wound man

Hans von Gersdorff's wound man from his Fieldbook of Wound Surgery, a woodcut print showing a truly unfortunate man suffering all then-common battlefield injuries at the same time.

Like many folks, it was Thomas Harris' Red Dragon that hipped me to the Renaissance medical illustration known as "wound man." There are in fact many different versions of the wound man, but Hans von Gersdorff's, shown here, is probably most famous.

A front-and-back profile of a human male, as one might find on a medical chart, with arrows and labels indicating locations and origins of 13 scarring wounds on my person.

I don't know where I got the idea to make my own personal wound man, although in truth the comparison is somewhat forced as my own version is not illustrated, and has as much or more in common with a modern medical chart as it does with a 16th-century woodcut. Regardless, It was an interesting exercise to go from head to foot and revisit all of mine, with their attendant memories. Our scars tell the stories of our bodies, and hence, to some extent, of our lives. Suffice to say I've been considerably luckier than the poor bastard in the original.

last modified 2008-01-18