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Wax model of a human face, Germany, 1801-1900

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The side of this wax human face has been cut away to reveal the internal structure of the eye including the muscles and the optic nerve, which carries electrical messages to the brain. Wax models were used for teaching anatomy to medical students or as part of popular anatomy shows. Models were used to pick out and emphasise specific features of the body, making their structure and function easier to understand, especially at a time when few bodies were available for dissection. The model was donated by the Department of Human Anatomy at the University of Oxford.

Object number:

1988-254

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    Glossary:

    Glossary: eye

    The organ of sight or vision. In man, and vertebrates generally, it is properly the movable ball or globe in the orbit, but the term often includes the adjacent parts.

    Glossary: anatomical model

    A model that demonstrates the structure of the human body through the separation of its parts. Often used for teaching purposes.

    Glossary: anatomy

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

    Glossary: dissection

    The cutting apart and separation of body tissues for the purposes of critical examination. Dissection of corpses is often carried out for the study of anatomy.