45 mm (1-3/4”), 53.9 grams
HISTORY: Suśruta (also Sushruta) was a physician of ancient India, renowned as the “Father of Indian medicine” and “Father of plastic surgery.” Born circa 600 BC, by some accounts, he grew up focused on the medical arts. He wrote a monumental 184-chapter treatise (Suśruta Samhitā) on medicine and surgery, which was used for hundreds of years following his death. Patients were anesthetized by drinking lots of wine. The origin of this medal is unknown to me.
OBVERSE: This beautifully struck, dark bronze medal takes us inside a surgical room with a patient undergoing open surgery on his left leg. The patient is surrounded by the surgeon and two assistants, the nurse on the right holding a bowl to catch the blood flowing out of the wound. To the lower left, beneath the surgeon’s left elbow, are the initials “B.G.,” perhaps the sculptor of this medal.
REVERSE: In the top vignette is another surgery scene of a patient being treated for a shoulder and neck injury. Beneath is a brief statement: “SUSRUTA (ca. 550 B.C. - 500 A.D.) IN A CULTURE OF DEEP RELIGIOUS ORTHODOXY, SURGERY FLOURISHED, EMPIRICALLY, THROUGH SKILLFUL OPERATIVE PROCEDURE.”
EDGE: Smooth with two hallmarks: circle with portrait profile and circle with logo “NTS,” followed by the word “BRONZE.”