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Wax injected human left hand, Europe, 1831-1870

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Wax has been injected into the arteries, veins and muscles to preserve the internal structure of the hand. This technique was perfected by Frederik Ruysch (1638-1731), a Dutch anatomist. The wax injection highlights the blood vessels that otherwise would be difficult to distinguish. Anatomical preparations such as this one were useful in an age when there was a lack of bodies available for dissecting. This arm may have been used as a teaching aid for medical students.

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Glossary: human remains

term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'

Glossary: hand

The portion of the upper limb distal to the radiocarpal joint, comprised of the wrist, palm, and fingers.

Glossary: anatomy

A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.