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Image of the Week: Dissection

5 Sep, 2014

L0057749 Part of a human stomach dissected by Edward Jenner, England,

This week’s image of the week is interesting for a number of reasons. At first glance, it looks like a delicate antique fan that might keep you cool in the heat of summer, but in reality it is something entirely different.

What you’re actually seeing here is a thin section of a human stomach, which has been flattened and injected with wax. This technique was used to show the veins, arteries and delicate membrane of the stomach wall, which wouldn’t be so easily identifiable without wax.

This specimen dates back to between 1790 and 1823, and the other interesting fact is that it was prepared by Edward Jenner, more commonly known for his pioneering work on vaccination.

Thought of by many as ‘the father of immunology’, Jenner’s work helped lead to the eradication of smallpox. He was also known for his delicate dissections, which were an important part of medical education, due to a lack of bodies that could be used to show students the workings of the human body.

The specimen above may have been used as a teaching aid to show the structure of the stomach.

Image credit: Science Museum, London, Wellcome Images

Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. Over 100,000 high resolution images from our historical collections are now free to use under the Creative Commons-Attribution only (CC-BY) licence.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 Sep, 2014 7:02 pm

    Reblogged this on Uncertain History and commented:
    I have seen this twice up close. I love it.

  2. 9 Sep, 2014 11:49 pm

    Reblogged this on CSA and commented:
    Interesting!

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