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Cover of Japanese manuscript on smallpox, c. 1720


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Credit: Cover of Japanese manuscript on smallpox, c. 1720. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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Japanese work on smallpox entitled Toshin seiyo [The essentials of smallpox] consisting of a manuscript in two volumes. It contains numerous coloured illustrations of different symptoms of smallpox, which were executed on separate sheets of paper: they were then cut out and pasted into place. According to the beginning of book two, the author was Kanda Gensen (c1670-1746) and the text was edited and supplemented by one Enokimoto Gensho, whose dates are unknown and about whom all that is known is that he practiced medicine. Kanda was a doctor who is known for his illustrated explanatory works on natural science and materia medica.

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