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Wax anatomical model of a female showing internal organs, Florence, Italy, 1818

This anatomical wax model shows the internal organs in a female torso and head, including the lungs, liver, stomach, kidneys and intestines. Complete with the veins and arteries, the heart is entirely removable. The figure was made by Francesco Calenzuoli (1796-1821), an Italian model maker renowned for his attention to detail. Wax models were used for teaching anatomy to medical students because they made it possible to pick out and emphasise specific features of the body, making their structure and function easier to understand. This made them especially useful 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:

1988-249

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    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.