Female ivory anatomical figure, Europe, 1601-1800
Models such as this were quite widely available in the 1600s. The torso can be removed to show the internal organs. The intestines can be removed to reveal a foetus. The level of anatomical detail is limited but gives a basic layout of the main organs. As such it is likely that the model was used to teach lay people about basic human anatomy. It may possibly have been used by midwives to provide reassurance for pregnant women and to teach young married couples about anatomy and pregnancy. Models like this are sometimes found in pairs, male and female, and the female figure is always shown as pregnant.
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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.
A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.