Medieval Wound Men for Halloween

As inspiration for our pumpkin destruction contest we have murdered one of our own -- Medieval wound man style!  

wound pumpkin


In a post a couple of weeks ago, we included a photo of a medieval guy getting pummeled and stabbed by all manner of weapons from an original copy of Hans von Gersdorff’s Feldbuch der Wundarznei (1530).  Pictured below, the wound man was a late Medieval device for teaching the science of surgery.  It is also gross and creepy, and therefore perfect for Halloween-inspired pumpkin murder contests!  

You will note that both Wound Men and Wound Pumpkins often suffer from Rondel Dagger stabs to the noggin.  Our Horseman's Axe, War Hammer, and Spiked Mace are also historically accurate and cause enormous damage comparable to the injuries in the below engraving. Not to mention a sword thrust to the abdomen. 

Hans von Gersdorff’s Feldbuch der Wundarznei (1530)

Although gruesome, the Wound Man was basically a pedagogical tool for displaying injuries that could happen to the body that a surgeon might have to treat.  Wound Pumpkins, of course, have a rather different function.  Rather than tutoring in the proper treatment of violent injuries, the Wound Pumpkin is better thought of as a blueprint for effective squash murder.

Medieval pumpkin weakness point illustration. 

Wound Man swords
Hieronymus Brunschwig’s Das buch der cirurgia (1497)


Although some examples of Wound Men featured communicable diseases, like plague buboes (see below), most extant Wound Men are focused on the kinds of martial injuries a soldier was likely to suffer, and that a surgeon on campaign was therefore likely to encounter.  This is, of course, of particular interest to modern fanciers of Medieval weaponry and historical martial artists who often wonder "wow, what would that sword strike have done if it had hit me on the head?"  If you are injured in the attempt to disembowel a pumpkin we suggest that you head to a hospital rather than consulting an original surgical text...

The Wound Man from Wellcome Library’s MS. 290

The device of the Wound Man persisted into the Renaissance period, though it morphed from a teaching device to something of s symbol for the art and profession of surgery.  If you're interested in learning more check out this link.  Also, send us your pumpkin destruction videos!

renaissance wound man
John Browne’s Compleat Discourse of Wounds (1678)

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