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De Humani Corporis Fabrica 1542: right side of articulated skeleton, p. 164

Here’s your chance to do a good deed for a venerable old library. Christ Church College Library at Oxford is in a dispute with the Nippon Dental University over a rare 1552 pocket edition of De Humani Corporis Fabrica by Andrea Vesalius. The book, a classic treatise on human anatomy, was stolen by an Oxford professor from Christ Church in 1995 and ended up on display at the NDU museum in Niigata, Japan. [more details here]

The NDU is refusing to return the book, stating that the Japanese statute of limitations on returning stolen property, a mere two years, has expired. Oxford and other academic instutions are pressuring NDU to negotiate the return of the book. If you would like to help, do send a politely worded e-mail to museum@ngt.ndu.ac.jp.


Incidentally, the inscription on the monument in the picture reads, Vivitur in genio, caetera mortis erunt (“Genius lives on, all else is mortal”). It is a line from the Elegiae in Maecenatem attributed to Virgil. (Available online here or in a Latin/English Loeb edition)

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