A Close-Up Look at Rare 17th-Century Anatomical Manikins - Atlas Obscura
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A Close-Up Look at Rare 17th-Century Anatomical Manikins

The true purpose of these objects remains something of a mystery.

The New York Academy of Medicine maintains a collection of extremely rare ivory anatomical manikins from the 17th century. The term “manikin,” we should note, denotes a human figure designed for medical simulation, whereas a “mannequin” is normally relegated to matters of fashion.

According to Anne Garner, curator of rare books and manuscripts at the academy, there are about 100 of these ivory manikins left in the world. Male physicians of the era likely collected them as status symbols, Garner says. Once you lift up the torso of the manikin, you can see the inner organs, as well as a fetus. To see these intricate models for yourself, make an appointment through the New York Academy of Medicine’s website.

In the above video, Atlas Obscura gets a close-up look at these rare models.

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