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Carved wooden head of a Christian martyr, Europe, 1501-1600

From an abbey in the Champagne region of France, this carved wooden piece shows a Christian martyr who was beheaded. The head is unusual in that it is shown in accurate anatomical detail. The spinal cord, oesophagus (food pipe) and vertebrae are intricately carved and clearly visible. The teeth are made from ivory.

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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.

Glossary: head

The part of the body that contains the brain, organs of sight, hearing, smell and taste.

Glossary: component - object

Constituent parts of objects or structures