Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Die Karikatur und Satire in der Medizin: The Doctor's Cane and the Plague Doctor

I found this cool little book on archive.org. The book is called Die Karikatur und Satire in der Medizin. Even if your German is as poor as mine, you should understand this book is about caricature and satire in medicine.

There are many great pictures in the book. There is a picture in the gynecology section that shows bunnies all over the floor and toward the end of the book are a couple funny caricatures of Anton Mesmer, but that's not the topic of this post...

There are some pictures of doctors with canes to their noses. 

Imagine that the moment your doctor enters your home, he strikes his cane upon the floor and then holds the golden tip to his nose. The doctor keeps the cane to his nose, whenever possible, for the entire visit.

What's that about?

When he entered your home he struck his cane to disrupt the herbs and powders in the cane's tip. The effect of the herbs was twofold. First, the herbs probably smelled better than the patients. And second, the herbs were probably meant to keep the doctor from airborne infection.

The doctor's cane was probably an evolved form of the medicated rings of the ancient world.

The most extreme adaptation of this type of device was the mask worn by Plague Doctors. The plague doctors had a mask with a massive beak stuffed with herbs. I tell you what, if this was the only doctor that would come see me, I'd probably fling myself from a window.

But doctors were not the only people to get a cool cane. Whatever the patient had that killed them, it didn't get any better (or smell any better) once they were dead. Here is a picture called "The Company of Undertakers"

1 comment:

  1. the gold always been in our history, the gold change the world througt the time
    alwaly who control dhe gold control the world, and the gistory