France, Germany and Italy, ca. 1500-1700. Carved ivory
Image Courtesy of the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
These manikins, between 6 to 7 inches in length, were made from solid pieces of ivory. The arms were carved separately and are moveable. The thoracic and abdominal walls can be removed, revealing the viscera. In some manikins the internal organs are carved in the original block and are not removable, while they are formed into separate pieces that can be removed.
Chinese foot binding was an attempt to stop the growth of the feet in young girls. It usually began when girls was young, usually around four to seven. Sometimes even later if the girl was from a poor family who needed her to help work. A large bandage was wrapped tightly around the foot, forcing the four small toes under the sole of the foot. This made the feet narrower but at the same time it made the feet shorter because it also forced the big toe and the heel closer together by bowing the arch of the foot. The bandage was tightened each day and the girl was put into progressively smaller and smaller sized shoes. The entire process usually took about two years at the end of which the feet were essentially dead and utterly useless.