Sunday, August 30, 2009


During my recent visit, during the months of August, to the Natural History Museum based at San Diego I was fascinated to see a show of human body that created sensation in my mind. I have never seen such an exhibition in my life . I had heard about the exhibition and felt indomitable desire to view it. It is an exhibition alright but that is not just an end of it. It is a beginning of a thought process which dominates your sensitivity and touches your soul. It forces you to think and question your mind. That is exactly what happened to me ! There were active corpses all around you but you do not have any bizarre feelings. Rather ,you feel fascinated. You get awestruck.

The exhibits of " Body world " are real corpses of human beings..These are real human bodies who were once alive and now dead but reborn as exhibits in real form with flesh and nerve. These are, of course, Skinless human bodies. The body has been kept alive, almost alive, through the process of plastination invented by a scientist : Gunther Von Hagens ..The exhibits created by him are the first public anatomical exhibitions of real human plastinates. They have been on display worldwide for ten years and so far, more than 28 million visitors have viewed the exhibits at venues in cities across Asia, Europe, the United States and Canada.

This exhibition has not been displayed in India, nay, in Asia- save Japan -so far. It is a rare technology invented by the German scientist which preserved the body. It is not mummified.
These are corpse in action. The body has been plasticined on the real human skeleton . It comes alive right in front of viewers eyes . The corpse looks at you on your face expressing tremendous beauty of physical prowess, strength of mind and philosophy of human misery and happiness. In a Mummy, the body is seen only in lying down pause as if in sleep. Here body stares at you. It does not evoke the sense of fear. The actions of corpses made me awestruck. The bodies bring out the sense of adventure and the secrets of human power through action of muscle and nerves.It was unimaginable for me how fascinating to view a humanl body without skin but full of muscles and veins. Oh really ! beautiful bodies that tingle your mind.

You could see a body's reaction of muscle when an exhibit was playing the base ball. Another body was laughing. You would be able to see the powerful face muscle when the exhibit laughed. There was a lady in reclining pause with her belly open with a baby in her womb. The growing baby in the womb head down was almost ready to be born. Viewing this kind of corpse in action provides you a sensation of your birth.
The satisfaction of the- would be mother - visibly appeared very real on her face muscle . The persona of a player, a mother ,a happy person makes you brood. It is not only technical marvel but also an exhibition of art as well as anatomical and physiological study of human being. You do not just see it . You marvel at it.

The exceptional success of the exhibits is to a great extent due to its educational value. They are structured in such a way that visitors experience it much as they would read a three-dimensional textbook: The anatomy as the foundation of the body is laid out in an educational and elucidating fashion. Visitors learn about the body’s functions; they also realize how highly sophisticated and beautiful, and yet how fragile the human body is. There are not much of femable bodies. Most bodies are male bodies complete with genitals with nerves. There are few femal body with their great glories.

Due to huge sucess of the body world exhibiton I am told that many plagiarists have sought to exploit the BODY WORLDS phenomena by appropriating the Plastination process invented and patented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, and offering inferior imitations products. However, Dr. von Hagens believes that BODY WORLDS alone resonates with the public, "because it fills the longing for the authentic in a time of practically unlimited reproducibility."

I was told by the specialist guide at the exhibition Hall that Dr. Gunther von Hagens was the world’s leading anatomist, the inventor of Plastination (the method of specimen preservation that makes anatomical display possible), and the originator of BODY WORLDS or KOERPERWELTEN(its German title), the first of its kind anatomical exhibition. Dr. von Hagens invented Plastination at the University of Heidelberg in 1977, developed the use of plastinated specimens for medical education and preservation, and established the International Society for Plastination. More than 400 universities in 40 countries utilize Dr. Gunther von Hagens’ preservation technique in their curriculum. I am a humble student of Economics and did not understand the intricacy of the chemistry of plastination. But I felt the wonderful sensation the exhits conveyed. I surely recommend all my readers given a chance to view this exhibiton. It is modern marvel of scientifice exploration of human body and wolrk of art too. This particular exhibtion would continue till 2009 November in Natural History Museum of San Diego. Anyody visting USA can make an effort to visit the exhibiton. It should be noted that body recreated by the scientist were obtained through donation of body. The exhibiton stem from a unique Body Donation Program established in Heidelberg, Germany in 1983, later managed by the Institute for Plastination established in 1993. But ther many people who have not liked this marvel for they felt the after death body's place is in tomb or in insunator. The body has no role without vital breath or" Prana"and should be allowed to respectfully kept burried or burnt. The scientific world did not believe that and the result was beautiful body world that speak out with vengence!

Currently, the Institute for Plastination has a donor roster of 9,200 individuals which includes nearly 9000 Europeans and 800 North Americans. Since 1995, more than 25 million people worldwide have visited Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS’ exhibitions that are currently displayed here. I enquired the specialist guide as to what is plastination"?

He replied that the process plastination was Invented in 1977, Plastination is the groundbreaking method of halting decomposition and preserving anatomical specimens for scientific and medical education. Plastination is the process of extracting all bodily fluids and soluble fat from specimens, replacing them through vacuum forced impregnation with reactive resins and elastomers, and then curing them with light, heat, or certain gases, which give the specimens rigidity and permanence.

The corpses pause in action in the exhibition .These looks alive.
why were these corpses made to be in action? l The brief reply was that the pauses and actions of the plastinates have been carefully thought out and serve educational aims. Each plastinate is posed to illustrate different anatomical features. For instance, the athletic poses illustrate the use of muscle systems while playing sports. The pauses allow the visitors to relate the plastinate to his or her own body. The primary goal of the exhibiton is Health education. The exhibiton is targeted at lay audience to know their own body , how it function, where different organs are located and what are their function . Every individual is unique. Human being reveals their individuality not only through the visible extrerior, but also through the interior of their bodies. Each body is distinctly different from any other. The body's positon , size shape and structure of skelton, muscles nerv es and organes determines our " interior face", added the guide.

Can these information not be conveyed through models of clay?

Absolutely impossible, Guide replied.In that case it would be a simplified version of the real thing. The authenticity of the specifmen not only fascinates but enables the observer to experience the marvel of the real human body.

I returned back from San Diego exhibition hall with a tingling in my mind and marveled at the human ingenuity.Perhaps , I thought, that is why the exhibiton is dedicated to the "individual interior face". It is sad that no photgraphs are allowed to be taken in the exhibiton. May be a few can view these marvelous bodies in action in the internet, if possible.


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