5 months, 3 weeks ago


In short, 
 makes sense, and the less developed the technology is, the more significant it is 
. Literature and art works, as a kind of easy to understand, slightly exaggerated propaganda media, can spread the epidemic information and epidemic prevention methods well. And the most practical works of literature and art are generally created spontaneously by the people, and constantly revised and shaped in the process of circulation. 

For example, the British children's song "making rose rings" is considered to be the creation of 
 against the plague. The main idea of the lyrics is: 
 rosette / pocket bouquet / ashes! Ashes! (sneeze!) Ah sneeze! /We all fell down 

Here, the rose ring refers to the tragic appearance of pink herpes all over the body; the bouquet was used by the ancients to cover the body odor and clean the air, which was one of the epidemic prevention methods at that time, and the perfume was also contained in the beak mask; the ashes refers to the method of dealing with the body, and the version of Achoo indicates the way of infection; at last, everyone fell ill. In addition, the game "plague company" also uses this song as BGM. 

In the period of the great plague of Vienna in the 17th century, the folk song "O Du Lieber Augustin" (o Du Lieber Augustin), written by the street singer Markus Augustin, explained the concept of "equality of death". The main idea of the lyrics is: 
 Oh, dear Augustine, it's all over; the money is gone, the lover is lost, it's all over; the coat is lost, the stick is gone, it's all over lying in the mud, it's all over; Vienna, the rich country, is no different from Augustine; once upon a time, only plague is left; a table full of bones and delicacies, just like leftovers; Augustine, Augustine, lie in the cemetery , it's all over 

This kind of works, which comforts people by expounding "the equality of death", is the intention and function of the most common plague literature and art works in the West. In fact, the famous painting "victory of death" by old Bruegel in 1562, which was popular among art experts recently, is also expressing this concept, rather than what they call "the horror of plague". 

This painting shows the equality of death in a large number of allegorical details, from the princes and nobles to the common beggars and even all the living creatures. From ancient times to the present, no one who escapes will die. Then the proposition of 
 dance of death 
 is extended, that is, how to get along with the reality that there must be a death 
 has a great influence on western philosophy. 

In addition, there is a symbol in the painting that needs to be explained, that is, the clock on the Church of death on the right side of the picture (as shown above). This is a clock operated by a skeleton (death). Its dial is upside down. The six o'clock direction indicates "1", i.e. the beginning of death. Four scales are lost on the left and right sides, symbolizing "the impermanence of death". In addition, the upper half of the skeleton is human, and the lower half is multi tailed snake. This image is a variant of "Medusa", a symbolic image of the concept of "infection" created by people at that time. We can also find this image in the Handbook of iconography by Cesare Ripa, which has influenced artists since the 16th century. 

As shown in the above figure, the symptoms of infectious diseases are fever (towering hair), cough and sneeze (spitting breath), but more like Medusa, it can be transmitted by eyes. Although there is no scientific basis for comparing infectious diseases with Medusa, it plays a warning role in epidemic prevention. 

In addition, literary and artistic creation can also help the suffering people to vent their anger or serve as ritual props. A famous example in the west is the transformation of the image of 
 Saint Sebastian 
 when the plague broke out. This sage is the master of plague, because he was shot dead by random arrows, and 
 Random arrows symbolize the impermanence of death 
. The more arrows Saint Sebastian has, the more serious the epidemic is. 

For example, in the most dangerous time of the epidemic, Sebastian is almost like a wish tree, people add arrows to protect the health of local people. Of course, there are also motivations for anger, because since the middle ages, there have been a lot of swearing and cursing words of saints for curing diseases. Some fools think that they have neglected saints to cause diseases. On the other hand, diseases drive people to add incense to the designated churches. 

In addition to the functions of information transmission, wish making and anger releasing, there are also a few literary works that can directly help the epidemic prevention work. Here's the most famous example - 
 the first side of grenewald's isenhaim altarpiece 

On this side are the images of Saint Sebastian, the crucifixion of Jesus, Saint Anthony, and the burial of Jesus. We only look at the middle two pictures. Because this picture can be opened and closed, when we open the first side here, 
 Jesus' left hand and lower leg will be cut (amputated) 
, which is a surgical method to treat the so-called infectious disease hellfire. 

At that time, the Church of San Antonio in Eisenheim had the function of a special hospital for infectious diseases, which was specialized in the treatment of Hellfire disease, which is what we call "ergot poisoning". They used bathing, isolation and baptism to treat patients with mild diseases, but for patients with severe diseases, they had to take amputation. In order to explain the operation to the patients, grenewald drew the above picture, 
 explained and demonstrated it to the public with Jesus as the medical dummy. Therefore, this picture not only comforts the patients with the theme of Jesus substituting for sin, but also introduces the treatment plan "personally", as if it were a manual 

In fact, "ergot poisoning" is not an infectious disease. The reason why the outbreak is concentrated is that the contaminated food is eaten collectively. It is a kind of poverty disease. In this painting, the holy and noble Jesus suffered himself. Today, it seems to be the specific way to treat this disease. It's a real irony. 

Well, on the whole, art's depiction of the theme of plague has the following four functions: transmitting information, making wishes, venting anger and displaying diagnosis and treatment means. Of course, in modern times, photography and a few painters also create works to record the tragic degree of disaster, which is another story. 

 or above.


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