Strange Medical-Themed Woodblock Prints From 19th-Century Japan

Before science and medicine offered explanations for how bodily functions work and what diseases do to the body people had all kinds of strange ideas about what was happening inside their bodies.

“Bodily functions personified as popular kabuki actors,” artist unknown, late 19th century

Diseases felt like a curse, fevers felt like demonic possession, and drugs felt like a blessing from a god, so when artists created visual depictions of illness and diseases these terrifying themes could be seen in many of their works.

“Chasing measles away,” by Utagawa Yoshimori, 1862

These fantastic Japanese artworks from the 19th-Century are part of the University of California- San Francisco's Japanese woodblock print collection, which isn't all medical-themed but is all kinds of cool to look through!

See more of these medical-themed woodblock prints at Dangerous Minds

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