Aberdeen’s Papier mâché man stars in national exhibition

Aberdeen’s Papier mâché man stars in national exhibition

The University of Aberdeen’s unique papier-mâché model of a man is the star attraction at a major national exhibition Edinburgh.

The model is one of 27 objects from the University’s museums and archives collections that form part of the Anatomy Acts exhibition, which opened at the City Arts Centre in the capital at the weekend.

Anatomy Acts aims to explore the social, cultural and scientific significance of anatomy in Scotland over the past 500 years by bringing together for the first time rare and historic items from Scotland’s medical museums and archives. The University is one of the principal contributors.

Objects sent from the University’s historic collections are diverse, ranging from anthropometry cards of student fingerprints from the Special Libraries and Archives collection to a cod skull from the Zoology Museum prepared by Frederick Knox, brother of the infamous surgeon Robert Knox who was involved in the Burke and Hare scandal.

A number of important historical anatomical models have also been loaned, including the life–sized articulated anatomical model of a man from the Anatomy Museum. This papier-mâché model of a man dates from 1880 and breaks down into 94 pieces. Each piece has been painstakingly conserved over the past few months by Margot Wright, Senior Curator (Conservation) at Marischal Museum’s Conservation Lab in preparation for the model’s first public display since it arrived at the Anatomy Museum in 1882.

The model was made by Frenchman Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux (1797-1880). He popularised the use of articulated models in the 19th century as a means of studying anatomy. Papier-mâché models on this scale are now very rare. Our life-sized model is believed to be the only one of its kind in Scotland and it is one of only a handful remaining in the world.

Anatomy Acts is at the City Arts Centre in Edinburgh until July 9 and will then tour to venues in Dundee, St Andrews, Inverness and Glasgow.

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