Ivory anatomical figure, Europe, 1601-1800
Ivory female anatomical figures were almost always shown as pregnant, like this example. The torso is removable to show the intestines, heart, lungs, stomach and liver. The intestines can also be removed to show a well developed foetus. Female models normally came as a pair with a male equivalent and were popular in the 1600s and 1700s. 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.
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Glossary: anatomical figure
Highly detailed models of the full human figure for artists, teachers and medical practitioners.
The condition of having a developing unborn embryo or foetus in the body. A human pregnancy is usually of 40 weeks gestation.
A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.
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.