Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mythical 16th-century disease critters

Long ago in Japan, human illness was commonly believed to be the work of tiny malevolent creatures inside the body. Harikikigaki, a book of medical knowledge written in 1568 by a now-unknown resident of Osaka, introduces 63 of these creepy-crawlies and describes how to fight them with acupuncture and herbal remedies.


Oddly, the disease-causing critters are more cute than frightening. I was half-expecting to stumble across a depiction of Hello Kitty.

2 comments:

kcotae said...

In a way it's true as bacteria are little critters! Very little...

W.M. Bear said...

And a couple of the drawings actually look like viruses as they appear under an electron microscope. Pretty prescient, I'd say!