19th century papier mache model brain


This highly detailed papier mache model of the human brain, which can be pulled apart to reveal labelled and numbered structures within, was created by the French physician Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux (1797-1880).

In the early 19th century, human cadavers for the study of anatomy were in short supply. The dissection of human corpses was  difficult, due to the fast rate of decomposition, and also illegal. And the wax anatomical models available at the time were both fragile and expensive.

Taking his inspiration from the childrens' toys sold on the streets of Paris, Auzoux began working on his first model. In 1822, while still a student, he presented it to the Paris Academy of Medicine. Five years later, Auzoux opened a papier mache anatomical model factory, in which he also produced zoological, veterinary and botanical models.

[Via Morbid Anatomy/ Curious Expeditions]

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This is remarkable. I used to covet all the old, intricately painted plaster brain models we had in our labs - given the damage I've seen to those, I'm amazed a paper-based model survived in such good condition!