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Artificial leg, Europe, 1914-1918

Made from heavy oak wood and weighing over 4 kg, this prosthetic leg was made for a British merchant seaman whose ship had been sunk in the Red Sea – located between Sudan and Saudi Arabia – during the First World War. When the seaman was captured by a German vessel, the ship’s carpenter made this leg for him. The seaman wore the leg until he returned home after the First World War. The leg is jointed, with toes, ankle and knee all able to bend.

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Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: artificial leg

A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.