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Ivory female anatomical figure, Germany, 1601-1800

Female ivory anatomical models of this type were popular in the 1600s and 1700s, and were almost always shown as pregnant, like this example, which is lying on an ebony stand. When the torso is removed the internal organs such as the heart, lungs and liver can be seen. The models are often shown lying on couches as if asleep. These figures normally came in male and female pairs. The organs are not very detailed so it is unlikely that the model was made 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.

Object number:

A642640

 

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: anatomy

A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.

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.