Friday, September 9, 2011
Anatomy in Korea with Dr. Oh
A few days ago, I met with the very lovely and generous anatomist Dr. Chang-Seok Oh, referred to me by my friend Ross MacFarlane. I had been interested in viewing medical or old natural history collections here in Seoul, and Dr. Oh had kindly offered to take me to see an anatomical collection of a Catholic university hospital where he had a contact. The collection had a number of interesting pieces, the most outstanding being a 17th Century mummy unearthed at an archeological excavation; there were also a number of forensic reconstructions. Images of the collection can be seen above.
Dr. Oh then took me back to his office, where we gushed about our shared interest in post-Vesalius/pre-Gray's Anatomy anatomical history, and where he shared with me his beautiful original copy of the 18th century Ontleedkundige Tafelen. This book, Dr. Oh explained to me, is of the greatest importance to Asian medicine, as it was the first Western medical book translated for Eastern consumption, published in Japan (with some additions from other texts) as Kaitai Shinsho in 1774. The book then made the rounds in Asia, changing the face of Eastern medicine forever. We did a side by side comparison of the original book and a facsimile of the 18th century Japanese Kaitai Shinsho; you can see those side by side comparisons above. I really liked the visual translation that occurs as the images move from the West to the East.
Click on images to see much larger, more detailed versions. Its worth it! And thanks to Ross MacFarlane and Deborah Leem for making this happen!