Artatomical: Beneath the Flesh of Edo-Period Japan


From 1798's "Seyakuin Kainan Taiz?zu" Image via Pink Tentacle

Anatomical illustrations make for some of my favorite Artatomical entries as we see the union of art and science, often with grisley beautiful results. Because while there is information to bestow to the reader, the artists of yore also brought with them particular aesthetic traditions and tastes. Such works lack the clinical sterility of more modern illustrations.

Which brings us to these fantastic anatomical images from Edo-period Japan, featuring in this excellent gallery over at Pink Tentacle. Above we see the faceless skull of an executed criminal in 1789's "Seyakuin Kainan Taiz?zu" and below we see an amazing skeleton (complete with alien-looking organs) in an illustration from "Kanshin Biy?" by Bunken Kagami.

They certainly resonate with the same horrific vibes one often finds in the Y?rei-zu genre of Japanese ghost story art.

From "Kanshin Biy?," exact date unknown.
Image via Pink Tentacle

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.