Mapping medications and their effects on the body

George-Christophe Würtz (1756-1823) / I. M. Schmidt Sc[ulpsit], Mappa Generalis Medicamentorum Simplicium secundum Affinitiates Virium Naturalium dispositorum. Strasburg: Bauer & Treuttel, 1778.
Engraving, 21 3/8”h x 22 3/8”w at neat line plus margins, early wash and outline color, possibly modern color to cartouche. Old folds, minor foxing, but very good.

A rare and most unusual allegorical map, in which physician George-Christoph Würtz (1756-1823) arranged differing herbal simples according to their natural “affinity,” that is, based on the degree to which each consisted more or less of air, earth, fire (“phlogiston”), or water. The simples are arranged secondarily according to their effects on the human body, in regions such as “Emetica,” “Diuretica,” and “Emollientia.”

The map illustrated Würtz’s 1778 work of similar title, in which he laid out his theory of affinities. Though the map has the appearance of a curiosity, the work earned him prominence in French and German medical circles, where he traveled widely and was well received.

OCLC 800687596 and 931920498, giving only two institutional holdings of the volume (A third is held by the University of Colorado-Boulder.) For a biography of Würtz, see Biographie Universelle…. Nouvelle Edition. Paris: Madame C. Desplaces, 1843-18-. Vol. XLV, p. 130 ff.