Ivory male anatomical figure, France, 1601-1800
Lying on a red velvet covered couch, this male anatomical figure is carved from ivory. When the torso is removed, the internal organs can be seen in two layers. The first layer shows the intestines, lungs and heart. The second layer shows the kidneys, bladder and the blood vessels, depicted by red string. Popular in the 1600s and 1700s, ivory anatomical figures normally came in male and female pairs; female examples were almost always shown as pregnant. The organs are not very detailed so it is unlikely that the model was used for medical teaching. The figure was possibly made 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.