It takes an average of 1,500 hours to transform a cadaver into a full-body plastinate. But the resulting specimen is everything that a conventional model is not — an intricate and authentic representation of the once living human body. Plastination is a vacuum process in which a body’s water and fat content are replaced by fluid plastic, which later hardens to retain all tissue structures. The German anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens invented plastination in 1977. The technique allows the general public to enjoy fascinating insights previously available only to medical students in dissection rooms.
SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE
The development of plastination marks the beginning of a new era in anatomy, a field of study that can be traced to the times of the pharaohs. In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci produced realistic sketches of the dissected human body, and in 1543 Andreas Vesalius pioneered modern anatomy with his precise drawings. These masters explored the mysteries of bodily interiors when external beauty was most revered. BODY WORLDS at MOSI connects with this spirit of enlightenment by presenting a new look at the human body that is both tangible and accessible.