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. In this example the foetus is shown in the uterus in position ready to be born. Carved from ivory, the heart can also be seen – the other internal organs are missing. Such ivory anatomical figures normally came in male and female pairs. 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 hollow reproductive organ in female mammals. The uterus is where the foetus develops after conception. The word 'womb' is often used among non-medical people to refer to the same area.
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.