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depictions of pregnancy, Fünfbilderserie


The Fünfbilderserie consists of anatomic schematics utilized in medical school dissections beginning in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Anatomists would create these mnemonics to help students envision the internal systems of the body. Besides the standard five male pictures, an additional image, the “Pregnant Disease Woman” acted as a means to understand the reproductive system and organs of the pregnant woman. This paper argues, however, that despite the empirical observation of the anatomy of the gravid woman, they continued to visualize and “imagine” it, largely due to the existing classical ideas these anatomist retained about women, their natures, and their bodies.