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4 Hands, Lace and Plants: Meaningful Embellishments

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that the Ruysch and Albinus preparations are closely connected, but also distinctly different, and that a close reading of their materiality reveals even more about their make-up and meaning. The use of coloured wax injections in anatomical preparations in this period is explored, particularly the use of red pigments. The arms and the tissue they are 'holding' are discussed, as well as the possible uses and meanings of the lace-rimmed sleeves with which they are decorated. This analysis provides an initial understanding of the influence of aesthesis on the creation of preparation in which hands are combined with other body parts and textiles. The mysterious preparation of flakes and a branch demonstrate that deciphering the aesthesis of this anatomy is sometimes far from straightforward. The reception history of these preparations is discussed to gain some more insight to the problems and opportunities these preparations presented and present.

Keywords: aesthesis; Bernard Siegfried Albinus; coloured wax injections; flakes; Frederik Ruysch; lace-rimmed sleeves; red pigments



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