Archive for the antiques Category

La Specola Anatomical Collection

Posted in anatomy, antiques, destinations, museums with tags , , , on January 17, 2016 by shewalkssoftly

La Specola Anatomical Collection is on my list of top destinations if I ever make it to Europe.

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La Specola is part of the Museum of Natural History in Florence and contains perhaps the largest (and best known) collection of antique anatomical models. It began as the personal collection of the Medici family, and opened in 1775 to the public.

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According to Atlas Obscura the museum “also houses some wonderful taxidermy, including now extinct specimens and a very questionable-looking hippopotamus.”

I obviously can’t hear the term “questionable-looking hippopotamus” without being deeply intrigued.

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Of particular note is the presence of anatomical Venuses…idealized female forms with their insides exposed. These medical models were a valued educational tool, but evoke all kinds of emotion with their brilliant, uncanny craftsmanship. Some look dead, some look as if they’ve been skinned alive. Others are semi-erotic.

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Have any of you visited La Specola?

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La Specola Anatomical Collection

Alexander Korzer-Robinson

Posted in anatomy, antiques, art, Books, craft, ephemera, nature with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2016 by shewalkssoftly

Alexander Korzer-Robinson transforms antiquarian encyclopedias into stunning shadow boxes, as if to three dimensionally vivify the rich content between the pages.

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His use of vintage materials and handpicked images is akin to the process of memory itself; simultaneously selective and reconstructive.

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From the artist statement:
By using pre-existing media as a starting point, certain boundaries are set by the material, which I aim to transform through my process. Thus, an encyclopedia can become a window into an alternate world, much like lived reality becomes its alternate in remembered experience.

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These books, having been stripped of their utilitarian value by the passage of time, regain new purpose. They are no longer tools to learn about the world, but rather a means to gain insight about oneself.

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Alexander Korzer-Robinson

Museum Oddities

Posted in antiques, craft, oddities, sculpture, skulls and skeletons with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2015 by shewalkssoftly

I first posted about “exploded” articulated human skulls years ago during Ryan Matthew theme week, but here is another fine example from Brian Kubasco (aka Museum Oddities).

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Kubasco is a sculptor specializing in masks, props, reproductions, prosthetics, character design, creatures, monsters and figurines. His website is a combination of personal creations and intriguing artifacts.

For example, here is a 1930’s dental phantom with five gold fillings and removable teeth.

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And here is a creative variation inspired by these models:
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There is some really great stuff on the site. Have a look at Museum Oddities.

Lucrezia Borgia’s Hair Reliquary

Posted in antiques, oddities with tags , on August 16, 2015 by shewalkssoftly

I can’t find any lengthy articles about this particular piece, but here we have a reliquary of Lucrezia Borgia’s hair, created in the 1920’s.

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It’s a pretty fantastic piece (which reminds me of today’s steampunk sculptures…but clearly precedes them by many decades). She’s got quite a lovely natural hair color. Most women need to get that out of a bottle.

It’s worth reading the bio, as Lucrezia Borgia is shrouded in all manner of scandalous allegations.

Oddities Store

Posted in antiques, creatures, medicine, oddities, taxidermy, vintage with tags , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by shewalkssoftly

If it has “oddities” in the title, there’s a good chance I’ll go down a massive rabbit hole exploring it. Thus, Oddities Store was an enjoyable find indeed.

I desperately need these:
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They have bisected animals…
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Bell jar skulls of all sorts…
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Fish sticks (literally):
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Diaphonized beauties:
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Skulls on plaques:
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Lovely shadow boxes:
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And…Lung Salve!
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Browse the rest of the collections at the Oddities Store.

The Art of the Physician and the Surgeon, 1412

Posted in anatomy, antiques, medicine with tags , , on February 5, 2015 by shewalkssoftly

Morbid Anatomy has a fascinating post on De Arte Phisicali et de Cirurgica (The Art of the Physician and the Surgeon), an illuminated vellum scroll, 542 cm (17 feet 9 inches) by 36 cm (1 foot 2 inches). It is dated 1412 and resides in the National Library of Sweden.

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The manuscript is composed of six vellum skins sewn together. Morbid Anatomy guest writer Michael Sappol explains:

It features numerous painted color illustrations, along with a text written by John Arderne (1307-ca. 1390), a master surgeon who lived in Newark in the county of Nottingham, England. How it got to Sweden is a bit of a mystery, but experts believe that it traveled over the North Sea sometime in the 1420s, sent by King Henry IV of England to help his daughter, Princess Philippa. She had been married off to King Erik of Sweden in 1406 at the tender age of 12 (and died in 1430 at age 34 of a miscarriage).

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The text (in Latin) contains standard medical wisdom of its time: advice on diagnosis and how to treat various conditions in the form of a discussion of cases, along with helpful recipes. (A knowledge of astrology helps with all of this.) The scroll is also supplied with a large number of good-natured, even comical, illustrations. Mostly they show the usual diseases and problems (dysentery, dropsy, colic, pleurisy, belching, insomnia, bellyache) and the usual therapeutic methods (bleeding, cautery, purging and plastering). There are also pictures of surgical instruments, poisonous animals (watch out for toads!) and typical problems of delivering a baby.

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What has attracted the most attention from scholars, and even the public, are the scroll’s painted illustrations of the anatomized body, split open like a book or a butchered animal. These occupy the middle of the scroll, between the two main columns of text (which makes no comment on them), and are very rare for the period, really quite astonishing.

Incredible find, indeed!

Desktop Goodies 1/22

Posted in absurd, advertising, antiques, art, comics, creatures, photography, satire, sci-fi, skulls and skeletons, vintage, you can't handle the cute with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2015 by shewalkssoftly

Yep, these are real birds…
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…not Tribbles with eyes.
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I wanted so much to believe this is an actual album, but sadly I don’t see it on Amazon or YouTube.
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Now THIS is music! I can almost hear their sweet, fruity harmonizing.
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1926 skull clock created by the German Oswald clockmaking workshop. They eyes rotate to tell the time.
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For maximum safety, place your child in a crib that appears to be a cross between a glass coffin and what magicians use to saw people in half.
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A unique abduction? Eye don’t know.
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MONSTER SOUP OF THE THAMES!
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Never neglect your bowels.
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I wish this were part of a large “Things to Do With a Giant Head” photo collection. There are two fine suggestions here:
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The Shadow is a force, indeed.
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The challenges we rarely think of…
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