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Article
May 18, 1895

PRE-COLUMBIAN LEPROSY.

Author Affiliations

LATE FOREIGN MEDICAL DIRECTOR, TOKIO HOSPITAL, JAPAN. NEW YORK.

JAMA. 1895;XXIV(20):753-754. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430200017003b
Abstract

Mr. Saville tells me that in the pottery of ancient Mexico there are symbolic pictures of death; human faces with blinded eyes. It is at least his opinion that this extinction of the eyes means death; for the god of death of these peoples is always represented with a stick puncturing the eyes. But nothing that can be considered as disease representations has ever been found there.

In Chiapas, Mexico, he says images have been recently found showing clubbed feet, arms in cramped positions, etc. This find is believed by archæologists to be exceedingly valuable, but it has not been, as yet, much reported upon.

If leprosy existed in America in pre-Columbian times, and if these deformations on huacos pottery are intended to represent lepers, the same idea must have been conceived previously in Japan, or Eastern Asia in general, from whence the disease itself would be likely to have

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