5 October 2007
KERCKRING, Thomas Theodor (1640-1693). Spicilegium anatomicum, continens observationum anatomicarum rariorum centuriam unam, nec non osteogeniam foetuum. Amsterdam: Andreas Fris, 1670.
2 parts in one, 4o (236 x 194 mm). General engraved title, divisional title with engraved vignettes, title and vignettes by Abraham Bloteling, 39 numbered engravings including 9 folding plates and 30 illustrations in text (11 full-page). Contemporary vellum (some light soiling). Provenance: Basel Public Library (ink stamp on verso of title); Rickson (ink signature dated 1958); Prof. Frederic T. Lewis (ink gift inscriptiption from Franklin P. Johnson, Portland, OR, 1923); Ira M. Rutkow (pencil signature on rear flyleaf).
FIRST EDITION of Kerckring's "Anatomical Gleaning" which contained 100 observations on various unusual topics in anatomy and pathology followed by a section on the bones of the foetus with a separate title-page. The fine engraved title by Abraham Bloteling (1640-1690) shows a suspended male cadaver being dissected by a woman in classical dress--of symbolic value for the advancement of knowledge since it is highly unlikely that any woman would have been conducting an actual dissection in the seventeenth century. It is of course possible that women witnessed dissections, which often took place in the open air with a wide audience in attendance.
"In Kerckring's studies of fetal bone development, contained in the second part of this work, he stated correctly that only a little of the skeleton can be found during the second month, and that the skeleton develops through a transformation of membrane into cartilage into bone. He was also the first to describe "Kerckring's ossicle," an occasional center of ossification in the occipital bone. The first part of the Spicilegium anatomicum contains Kerckring's description of the valvulae conniventes ("valves of Kerckring") in the small intestine, which had previously been described by Falloppio." (Norman 1209). Garrison-Morton 383; Heirs of Hippocrates 632; NLM/Krivatsy 6346; Norman 1209; Roberts & Tomlinson pp. 300-303; Waller 5270; Wellcome III, p. 386.
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