Exhibition: This is not a freak show
This wasn’t the first time that I’d visited one of Gunther von Hagens’s offerings, but with three gruelling years of medical school since my last visit, I wondered if this time I’d see things differently.
Body Worlds and the Mirror of Time features material from more than 200 cadavers, painstakingly dissected to show the finer points of anatomy and the process of ageing. Von Hagens also includes three plastinated chickens, a horse, a giraffe, many human fetuses, and an assortment of human body parts. Plastination is a technique used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts that preserves microstructure. This is not a show of blood, guts, and gore.
The specimens are accompanied by concise explanations. Walking among them is fascinating, and having studied anatomy only adds to the pleasure. Given the quality of the work, it is not surprising that this show has attracted 26 million visitors worldwide.