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Objects from Wellcome Collection

Reflecting the diversity of Wellcome Collection, Prospect asked a selection of experts to respond to individual objects they thought astonishing, intriguing or important within its two permanent galleries, Medicine Now and Medicine Man

By Lewis Wolpert   September 2007

Discuss this article at First Drafts, Prospect’s blog

Mark Cousins, film critic, on a 19th-century Japanese illustration, in Medicine Man

At first I misrecognise this image as an assault. In so many Japanese films in recent years a dark haired young woman spills blood, that I see this painting by Kamata Keishu from 1851, through 21st century cinephile eyes. Then I read its caption. It’s a doctor excising a cancer growth. Immediately it is something else. A benign invasion. The first such operation using general anaesthetic was carried…

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