Female ivory anatomical figure, Europe, 1601-1800
Ivory anatomical models such as this one were not uncommon in the 1600s. The internal organs can be removed and a foetus in the uterus can be revealed. The anatomical detail is not very accurate, especially when compared to illustrations in books on anatomy from the same period. 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. They sometimes exist as pairs, male and female, and the female figure is almost 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.