Wax plaque in wooden frame, showing 5 stages in development of foetus, possibly early 18th century
Five stages of foetal development are illustrated by this plaque. It is carved from wax. It is thought to be of European origin and made in the 1700s. Models were important to medical training because few bodies, especially those of pregnant women, were available for dissection. Waxworks such as this were used as teaching aids for medical students. Wax gave a realistic representation of flesh. This allowed particular details to be highlighted. In this case, various stages of development can be compared directly.