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PURMANN, Matthäus Gottfried (1649-1711)

Chirurgia curiosa, darinnen ein jedweder Chirurgus nicht allein auffs gründlichste sehen und finden kan, was in die gantze Wund-Artzney vor künstliche Operationes, richtige Cur-Vortheile, bewährte Artzney-Mittel, leichte und geschwinde Hand-Griffe, gehören, sondern auch solche, durch und durch, mit sehr raren und sonderlichen Observationen bewähret wird. Alles in drey Theil und 73. Capitel abgetheilet, und mit vielen darzu dienenden Kupffer-Tabellen und Vier Registern versehen.
Franckfurt & Leipzig, Michael Rohrlach’s seel. Wittib und Erben, 1716.

Reprint of the first edition of 1699, with exactly the same collation incl. the dropped pp 737-38. Hirsch mentions an edition of 1694. Purmannn was a skilful army surgeon - one of the most famous of the period. Despite this he belived in the efficacy of the weapon-salve and the sympathetic powder. (G&M, 4146) After Scultetus and Fabry of Hilden, Purmann was the most important German surgeon. He is held in the highest esteem of the historians of today, because he regarded anatomy as the true basis of the surgeon’s knowledge. He introduced a number of innovations into surgery and seems to have a flair for the unusual. He performed most of the operations known or proposed in his time, from trephining, aneurysm, and bronchotomy, to suturing wounds of the intestines. The book contains a number of remarkable operations. In 1668 Purmann carried out the first blood transfusion in Germany, using the blood of a lamb, of which he gives a detailed description. A fanciful representation of this transfusion is given in his Lorbeer Krantz, oder Wund-Artzney (1705). He is also credited with early experiments with intravenous injection “of considerbale interest and importance” (Zimmermann & Veith). Purmann noticed a peculiar practice, a technic for uniting gut edges in the 17th century, which he inveighs against: from earliest times it had been customary to employ insects, such as the leaf-cutting ants which are provided with pincer-like mandibles, for the purpose of fastening the edges of delicate tissues together. After the insect had been properly placed, its head was snipped off and the mandibles remained closed.

Collation: Pp (16), 736, 739-746, (48) last leaf is a blank. Pp. 737-8 dropped in pagination. With 14 engraved plates. Title printed in red and black. Contemporary vellum.

Binding: Two issues are known of the 1699 edition, one with the title printed in red and black, incorporating the words: “und mit vielen . . . Kupffer-Tabellen”; the other without those words and with the title in black only. The two appear to be in all other respects identical, but some copies with title in red and black has a supplement dated 1710, and may be a later issue.

Provenance: P. Åkerblom’s signature inside front cover. Anno 1701. Johannis Gustaf Bergström’s signature on the title leaf. Anno 1724.

References: Zimmermann & Veith, Great Ideas in the History of Surgery, pp 253-260; Hirsch, IV, 688-9; Mettler, History of Medicine, 861. SLS 500 Jonathan Hill 148/76 (1699 edition). Waller 7677.

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