Wax moulage, cutaneous leishmaniasis
Herman Fermor Lawrence (b.1863, d.1936)
This early 20th century wax moulage illustrates cutaneous leishmaniasis, a skin condition caused by protozoan parasites which are transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies. The disease affects some of the poorest people and is associated with malnutrition, population displacement, poor housing, a weak immune system and lack of financial resources. This moulage was created by Dr Herman Lawrence, the first dermatologist of Melbourne’s St. Vincent’s Hospital. Lawrence was following the lead of European moulage makers in giving his waxes realistic details like eyebrows, eyelashes and accurate skin tone. In this era, a wax cast was one of the only ways to accurately document in three dimensions the external symptoms of disease. Lawrence donated his moulages to the University of Melbourne in 1919-1920.
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