Anatomist Gunther van Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibitions of human bodies and animals, preserved using a pioneering method called Plastination, have attracted more than 30 million people throughout the world, sparking curiousity and lashings of outrage along the way.
The controversial 65 year old, dubbed Dr Death by the media, has once again created a furore, this time by offering plastinated body parts for sale, including a smoker’s lung for a whopping $4,475 (€3,600), a testicle for $444 (€360) and a slice of a human head for $1,838 (€1,500).
What is plastination?
It’s a groundbreaking, questionably taboo-breaking technique, whereby the skin of dead bodies is peeled back to reveal a melange of muscles and tendons that are left intact and preserved by replacing water and fats with certain plastics. His most controversial display to date is probably that of a skinless, plastinated couple having sex.
Von Hagens has always insisted that his work serves an educational process, saying it is a “valuable contribution to medical education, elucidation and promoting better health.” And indeed, until recently only medical professionals and professors were allowed to buy the plastinated slices.
But now us common folk need only to log onto his website, and with the click of a button we can have a piece of jewelry adorned with an animal cross-section delivered to our front door.
Struggling to come up a present idea for that friend who already has it all? Then look no further than Gunther von Hagens’ somewhat macabre online shop, where for just $26 (€19) you can purchase a handmade ring with a transparent silicone slice of bull’s penis, or a bracelet with slices of giraffe tail for $60 (€43).
What do you think about putting plastinated body parts on sale?
Michael Jackson was reportedly considering Plastination. Read our article Want Immortality? Get plastinated.
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