Ivory male anatomical figure, Italy, undated
Lying on a stand called a bier, traditionally used for burials, this carved ivory male anatomical model can be opened up to reveal the internal organs. Popular in the 1600s and 1700s, such anatomical figures normally came in male and female pairs. Female examples were almost always shown as pregnant (see A642636 for the matching model). The anatomical features of 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.
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Glossary: anatomical figure
Highly detailed models of the full human figure for artists, teachers and medical practitioners.
A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.