The Kaibo Zonshinzu Anatomy Scrolls were painted in 1819 by a Kyoto-area physician by the name of Yasukazu Minagaki (1784-1825). They have been heralded by Japan’s Ministry of Culture as evidence of the level of knowledge reached by medical science in the Edo period. The bodies used for the purpose of examination usually belonged to heinous criminals executed by decapitation. The pronounced differentiation of the illustrations when compared to European anatomical drawings from the same period is the total absence of romanticism whereas blood and other fluid are shown leaking from faces writhing is painful expressions.

The Keio University Library is currently storing the scrolls which contain 83 illustrations documenting over 40 bodies. The scrolls are regarded as the best collection of 19 century Japanese anatomical drawings ever found.

I have always been fascinated by the divide between Western and Eastern (Asian) art and these drawings only deepened my interest. You can read more about them and see several more illustrations at The Pink Tentacle.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,