A Catalogue of the Cabinet of Curiosities of Rotterdam Anatomical Theatre, 1740

Catalogus ofte Naamlyst der voornaamste zaken, dewelke op de Anatomie-Kamer der Stadt Rotterdam te zien zyn. Rotterdam, Stefanus Mostert, 1740. 8vo (17,4 x 11,2 cm). 26 pp. 19th-century wrappers, with two blank leaves bound after leaf A8. In very good condition. The wrappers slightly worn and the spine slightly damaged and discoloured. 


A rare catalogue of the cabinet of curiosities of the Rotterdam anatomical theatre, founded in 1642.


Divided into several rooms and cabinets, the catalogue lists no fewer than 573 specimens. Among the specimens are crocodiles, parts of an elephant, sharks, a penis of a whale, the kidney stone that Jan Jansz. de Doot famously removed from his own body(!), a large shoe worn by the Giant of Lekkerkerk, stillborn children, conjoined twins, the bodies of several executed criminals, 245 minerals, etc. etc.


But perhaps the most interesting specimens in the collection are the skin (p. 5, nr 22) and skeleton (p. 17, nr 34) of 'Aal de Dragonder'. Aal was a soldier (a dragoon) who was stabbed to death in a fight somewhere before 1710. Only after her death it was discovered that she was a woman dressed as a man. After her death her body was donated to the Rotterdam anatomical theatre were her prepared skin and skeleton (mounted on a horse and holding a knife) were displayed. The collection was dispersed around 1828; what happened to Aal's body is unknown.


STCN 1 copy only; WorldCat adds 2 others; cf. Lieburg, ‘Het eerste theatrum anatomicum van Rotterdam (1642-1759)’, in: Rotterdams Jaarboekje (1976), pp. 210-227; 1001 Vrouwen, 350.

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