A view of the body’s inner workings

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A view of the body’s inner workings

After a three-year nationwide tour, the exhibition “Wonders of the Human Body” is getting its final showing at the COEX in southern Seoul.
The exhibition features about 200 specimens of dissected parts of the human body, all of which are real.
When the exhibition “Bodyworlds, The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies” first opened in Korea at the National Science Museum in 2002, it was sensational and controversial, especially since the specimens of human body parts on display were those of real human beings. But it has been one of the most popular exhibitions in Korea ― drawing crowds in the tens of thousands.
The corpses, which are skinned to reveal muscles, bones or organs according to the purpose of the display, are preserved with a special treatment developed by anatomist Gunther von Hagens. This pioneering process is called plastication: bodies are skinned and their tissues are soaked and hardened in chemicals such as silicon, epoxy and polyester, which causes them to dry and firm into an odorless “mummy.”
The bodies on display are those of people who gave prior consent for their bodies to be used for educational or study purposes.
Although most displays in the exhibition are a “first,” there are several sections that one must make sure to see, such as the brain tissue of Albert Einstein.
The organizers of the exhibition claim that this is the first time that the brain tissue of the genius has been exhibited to the public, although study results on his brain tissue have been revealed before. Another interesting exhibition is a display of a woman who was five months pregnant. Her stomach is dissected so that one can see the fetus inside her womb.
For youth educational purposes, two lungs are exhibited side by side. One belonged to a smoker and the other to a non-smoker. Of course, the smoker’s lung is black in color.
All displays have both English and Korean descriptions that explain what is going on.
“I thought it would be disgusting but it’s quite interesting. I think it’s very educational,” said Kim Jung-ju, who came with her husband and children.
According to Brandon Kwon, one of the organizers of the exhibition, about 30,000 people have seen it so far.
“The COEX exhibition is a wrapup before we close in Korea,” he said. “It’s not as big as the previous exhibitions in terms of floor space, but the contents are the same.”


by Wohn Dong-hee

“Wonders of the Human Body” will continue until Oct. 3 at the Jangbogo Hall of the COEX in southern Seoul. Tickets are 7,000 won to 10,000 won. The exhibition is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 02-6000-3550.

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