Little is known of the early life of Hans von Gersdorff, one of the most noted German surgeons of the late fifteenth and early sixteen centuries. He was born about 1455, but it is not known how or where he received his education. In 1517, he published Feldbůch der Wundartzney, or Fieldbook of Surgery (i.e., "Wound Doctoring") , in Strasburg. The book, based largely on the writings of medieval surgeon Guy de Chauliac, was extremely popular and served as one of the most basic surgical texts in Europe for a number of years. It was especially well-known for its advice on limb amputation, of which Gersdorff is reputed to have performed at least 200. He died in 1529.
The Feldbůch contains four woodcut anatomical images, including a bloodletting figure (with internal organs exposed), "Wound Man," a skeleton, and another figure showing internal organs (the "viscera-manikin"). Other images in the book, not pictured here, include surgical procedures, such as amputations, trephining, and bone setting, and images of leprosy. Virtually nothing is known about the illustrator, Johann Ulrich Wechtlin, also known as The Master of the Crossed Pilgrim's Staves (Maître aux bourdons croisés). The two folded leaves (the skeleton and the viscera-manikin) were originally published as fugitive sheets by the same printer, Johann Schott of Strasburg, in 1517 and were often inserted into the Feldbůch's 1517 edition. In later editions, such as this one printed in 1528, the leaves appear to have been standard illustrations.
Choulant, L. History and bibliography of anatomic illustration. Trans. and annotated by Mortimer Frank. (New York: Hafner, 1962). Pp. 162-166.
Gersdorff, Hans von. Feldbuch der Wundarznei. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1967). A facsimile of the 1517 ed.
Morton's Medical Bibliography (Garrison and Morton). Ed. By Jeremy Norman. 5th ed. (Aldershot, Hants., England : Scolar Press ; Brookfield, Vt., USA : Gower Pub. Co., 1991). No. 5560.
Neue Deutsche Biographie. (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1964). Vol. 6, pp. 322-323.