The Wound Man

The name given to this figure, who is covered in an abundance of wounds made in a creative assortment of ways, is self explanatory. The image survives in manuscripts on surgical craft from the 15th century, many of which were written in south Germany. 

Jack Hartnell, in his blog post on the Wound Man, succinctly describes how the image works: 'Despite this horrendous cumulative barrage of injuries, however, the wound man is very much alive. For the purpose of this image was not to threaten or inspire fear, but to herald potential cures for all of the depicted maladies... Scattered around him are numbers and phrases, indicating where in the text a particular cure might be found.'

In Wellcome MS 49, for example, a spider crawls up the wound man's thigh, beside which a German legend navigates the viewer to the appropriate paragraph in the accompanying text: ‘Wo eine spynne gesticht, 20’ – ‘When a spider bites, 20’