1. medieval Bodies: Life, Death, and Art in the Middle Ages


Transparency and white is the drowning of the people in medieval. The room of medieval scripture in V and A is based on grass and white stones, it represents the aesthetic sense and ideal of medieval people. Nowadays we can see the inside the body by using x-ray technology, however, in the past, body dissection was only a source to know our physical function. For people in the medieval, anatomy was bloody. That's why people dreamed  a beautiful clean white body, or transparancy like a glass.

The medical care in the time of medieval was quite untheoretical. None knows how the medical theory developed, but there is some truth. People have known the relationship between our body and the universe, especially planets, doctors were caring patients following to the calendar represents the location of stars and planets and "Bytheferths Diagram" on the left side. This diagram does not only apply to the human body but can be everything about nature. People believe the health is kept between the perfect balance of air, fire, water, earth, and each attribute. The theory is quite similar to the theory of Eastern medical care.


On the other hand, doctors in medieval didn't learn much about anatomy from the practical body dissection. they were believing the biblical resource, medical books much more than the real body. we can see the ratio of text and figure in the medical book in medieval. the figure and the accuracy was not a point. Medical care in that time depended on the knowledge from books. The meaning of body dissection at the time was to make sure how the account in the book was right. that's why people in paintings of medieval body dissection were having a book on the one hand, and they didn't see the  dead body directory.



The medieval medicine was naturally connected with spiritual, expressive medicine and surgery. For example, the figure on the right side is called a magical healing bowl. People believed the water in the bawl heal the body. the left side figure is "Urine Tree". "Medieval medical manuscripts often include images of the ‘Urine Table’, alternatively referred to as the 'Urine Wheel'. The image illustrates the practice of romance or urinomancy. Uromancy is the practice of examining a patient’s urine to determine his or her health. Urine examination is used as a preliminary diagnosis by medical practitioners, which dates back to the time of the physician, Hippocrates. In the middle ages, medicine was not a scientific pursuit, and the examination of urine was no exception. The image of the urine wheel in medieval medical manuscripts clearly illustrates and links each uroscopy flask to a different disease of the human body. Medical practitioners would examine the colour, smell and taste of the urine, alongside the image of the urine wheel to determine a patient’s illness. For instance, if the patient’s urine was red and, or foamy the patient was believed to be suffering from kidney disease. This medical procedure is emphasised in byzantine medicine."


In the age of medieval, people were thinking the human brain can be separated in five-parts, each function was common sense, imagination, estimation, understand, and memory.