Ivory female anatomical figure, Europe, undated
The torso of this ivory female anatomical figure can be removed to show the lungs and intestines. Removing the intestines reveals the uterus with a foetus ready to be born, as well as the stomach and liver. The piece of red string represents the umbilical cord. Ivory anatomical models were popular in the 1600s and 1700s and normally came in male and female pairs, where the female was 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 used to teach young couples about anatomy or 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.