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Macroglossia is a disorder where the tongue becomes enlarged. This may be due to a range of causes, which include a number of inherited conditions, physical injury or through the growth of either benign or malignant tumours. Left untreated the condition can seriously affect an individual’s ability to speak or eat. This statue is believed to be from the Songye people of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa and was bought at auction by one of Henry Wellcome’s collecting agents in 1932.

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Glossary: Diseases and epidemics

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Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.