Wax Moulages

Before slides and photography, the way physicians were trained is by carefully made and colored wax molds.  Moulage, is a French word meaning “casting” or “molding”.  The making of wax moulding dates back to the Renaissance.  Today, moulage is still used to make mock injuries for the purpose of training rapid response teams and military personnel.

Image from ama-assn.org.  Photo by Joanna Ebenstein.  This image is from the Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum in Vienna. The museum is located in the so-called Madhouse Tower (Narrenturm), featured as the residence of the composer Antonio Salieri in the movie “Amadeus.”

The history of wax models is ancient. Wax anatomical models were first made in Italy and France.  More than 2000 splendid wax models were made in Hospital Saint-Louis, Paris, many more were collected.  Moulages were made for the education of dermatologists around the world, but were eventually replaced by color slides.

In the 19th century moulage was taken of medical patients for educational purposes. The prepared model was painted to mimic the original disease. (adapted from wikipedia)

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