Graphic Medical Oddities and Preserved Human Specimens
The Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok,Thailand abounds with medical curiosities. The Siriraj is actually comprised of six different museums: a museum of pathology, a forensics museum, a museum of the history of Thai medicine, a parasitology museum, an anatomical museum, and a prehistoric museum.
The Siriraj’s incredible holdings include: Bones, preserved organs, pathological fetuses, the mummified corpse of a notorious serial killer, a traditional Thai medicine shop, parasitic worms, a two-and-a-half-foot-wide scrotum removed from a man afflicted with elephantiasis, rows of skulls, the standing wax-filled remains of a cannibal, a delicately dissected nervous system, and the skeleton of the museum’s founder.
Antonio Cattani created these engravings in the 1780s based on sculptures by Ercole Lelli, who examined at least 50 cadavers in preparation. The sculptures were created for the “anatomical theater” of the medical school at the University of Bologna, a room dedicated to the teaching of anatomy through dissections of human bodies. The engravings helped art students master the parts of the body.