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8 Conclusion: Aesthesis and the Future of Historical Anatomical Collections

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Chapter Summary

This is the concluding chapter of the book Elegant Anatomy presents some closing thoughts relevant ot the discussion on human anatomy. The book shows that the experience of disgust upon the confrontation with deformity and ugliness in human anatomy is a form of core disgust that has not changed substantially since the eighteenth century, and aesthesis was as much about dealing with these negatives of the sensory-informed acquisition of knowledge as it was about its positives of beauty and perfection, actually, the two opposites are inextricably connected. The Leiden collections are very well maintained and managed now, and the book has shown how important it is to preserve this kind of material culture, after all, materiality is a unique source to increase our understanding of past epistemic culture. Displaying the Leiden collections both physically and digitally increases their chances of survival. The book also demonstrates the importance of humanities research on historical anatomical collections.

Keywords: aesthesis; historical anatomical collections; Leiden collections



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