In recent weeks measles again became one of the main topics covered in the news stories. Not that long ago, before the advent of the vaccines, measles epidemics were a common occurrence around the globe. Back in the nineteenth century numerous hashika-e (measles pictures) from the UCSF Japanese Woodblock print collection served as guides to combat this disease. Many of them include a holly leaf (tarayō) believed to contain protective powers as well as recommendations for auspicious diet and and explanations how to persuade the measles kami (“Shinto term for god, divinity”*) to leave.
These charms when attached to a door or screen were supposed to protect the house and its inhabitants against measles:
Charm against measles. Utagawa Yoshitsuya, 1862.
Poetic charm against measles. Utagawa Yoshikatsu, 1862.
Another print depicts three “mighty men” conquering measles.
Three mighty men conquering measles. Ochia Yoshiiku, ca. 1870s.
And the battle to eradicate measles continues…
Modern day narrative on battle against measles. Unknown artist, ca. 1860.
We wanted to announce to all of you that a selection of our beloved treasures, here in the Archives & Special Collections, is featured in the UCSF Zazzle store. The online store allows you to purchase customizable note cards, tote bags, mugs, iPhone cases, water bottles and t-shirts that feature one-of-a-kind images from our collection.
Recently, we’ve added items that showcase pieces in the “Pharmacy and Pharmacists” exhibition of Japanese Woodblock Prints– currently on display in the UCSF Library.
The online store also includes items with images from past exhibitions of the Japanese Woodblock Prints Collection. These represent a cross-section of the collection, featuring colorful ukiyo-e scenes on topics such as women’s health, diet and nutrition, spirituality, views of foreigners, and traditional Chinese healing methods.
Items with historical UCSF photographs from the Photograph Collection are also available. Check out the fascinating views of campus from the turn of the twentieth century.