A 1619 Peek into the Human Body

How did people know what was inside their body before textbooks or the internet? For those not into murder and mutilation, a novel book was available in 1619: Johann Remmelin’s Catoptrum microcosmicum, to be offered Tuesday, October 25, 2016 in the sale of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books.

The book uses little engraved flaps that a reader could lift to see where the organs lay in the body. The text, in Latin, was probably intended more for curious laypeople than for medical practitioners, because it contains as much theology as anatomy.

 

Lot 140: Johann Remmelin Catoptrum microcosmicum, Augsburg, 1619. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

Lot 140: Johann Remmelin, Catoptrum microcosmicum, Augsburg, 1619. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

 

The book shows both male and female nude figures. There is also a torso of a pregnant woman, featuring multiple flaps to show successive anatomical layers.

 

Lot 140: Johann Remmelin Catoptrum microcosmicum, Augsburg, 1619. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

Lot 140: Frontspiece. 

 

Though an earlier edition was printed in 1613 without the approval of the author, this is one of the first published books to use flaps to show where organs are within the body.

 

Lot 140: Johann Remmelin Catoptrum microcosmicum, Augsburg, 1619. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

Lot 140: Johann Remmelin, Catoptrum microcosmicum, Augsburg, 1619. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

 

Lift the flap to see our full catalogue.