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Wax anatomical model of a human head, Europe, 1801-1900

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This wax model of a human head shows the internal structure of the brain, complete with its protective covering, the meninges, the eye, cheek, neck and jaw. Wax models were used for teaching anatomy to medical students or as part of popular anatomy shows. They 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:

1988-256

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    Glossary: brain

    The enlarged and highly developed mass of nervous tissue that forms the upper end of the central nervous system. The average adult human brain weighs about 1400 g (approximately 2% of total body weight) and is continuous below with the spinal cord. It is responsible for the coordination and control of bodily activities and the interpretation of information from the senses (sight, hearing, smell, etc.)

    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.

    Glossary: cut-away object

    Model or object that is either cut to show a section of it construction. Section may be a cross-section (both longitudinal & cross-sectional) or a small cut-away