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Papier mache man stars in exhibition

A life-sized papier-mâché anatomical model of a man, dating from the 1870s is currently being cleaned and conserved by conservators at University of Aberdeen. Papier-mâché man is one of the key exhibits to be loaned from the University for display at the exhibition Anatomy Acts at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh from the 13 May to the 9 July 2006. Anatomy Acts will explore the social, cultural and scientific significance of anatomy in Scotland over the past 500 years.

The model has been in the university's Anatomy Museum since 1882 where it has drawn much interest, and benefited the studies of generations of science and medical students. However, when unveiled at the exhibition it is the first time it will have been on public display.

Dr Elizabeth Hallam from the University’s Department of Anthropology is tracking the movement of papier-mâché man from the Anatomy Museum, through conservation and into the Anatomy Acts exhibition. ‘It is interesting to work out how people respond to the model as he moves from place to place on his way to display in the public gallery,’ she commented.

It was an innovative French graduate, Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux who designed and popularised anatomical papier-mâché models as an alternative way to study the human body, because of the shortage of cadavers available for dissection. The anatomically accurate models of body structures could be taken apart and reassembled by the student.

Although widely used at the time, Auzoux's models are now relatively scarce. The University is fortunate to have a number of the models in the Anatomy and Zoology Museums. However, papier-mâché man is particularly special given its size and large number of removable parts and it is believed to be the only one of its kind that remains in Scotland today.
Further details contact: Claire Smith, Senior Curator of Scientific Collections. tel: 01224 274 309

This work and the exhibition Anatomy Acts forms part of the Scotland & Medicine: Collections & Connections Partnership supported through the Regional Development Challenge Fund, funded by the Scottish Executive and administered by the Scottish Museums Council. The Fund aims to encourage the development of partnerships at regional level across local authorities and between museums of all types and other related agencies. Generous funding has also been received from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Scottish Arts Council, Edinburgh College of Art, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and AXA Art.

Image caption: Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux. Life-size model of a man. France, 1880, papier-mâché. Courtesy of the University of Aberdeen. Photography by John McIntosh.


Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Thursday 2nd of February 2006

Contact: Jennifer Phillips

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