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Ivory female anatomical figure, Europe, 1601-1800

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Ivory anatomical figures were popular items in the 1600s and 1700s. This example shows a pregnant female. The torso is removable to show the internal organs such as the intestines. Female models such as this were almost always shown as pregnant and normally came as a pair with a male equivalent. The organs are not very detailed so it is unlikely that the model was used for medical teaching. The figure was possibly used to teach young couples about anatomy and pregnancy or it may have been a collector’s item. This example was purchased from a private collection in Florence, Italy, by one of Henry Wellcome’s collecting agents, Captain Johnston-Saint.

Object number:

A79643

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Glossary:

Glossary: anatomical figure

Highly detailed models of the full human figure for artists, teachers and medical practitioners.

Glossary: pregnancy

The condition of having a developing unborn embryo or foetus in the body. A human pregnancy is usually of 40 weeks gestation.

Glossary: foetus

The name given to the embryo during the later stages of development. In human reproduction it refers to an unborn child from its eighth week of development.