These Intricate Anatomy Cross Sections are Made From Old Books

Shaunacy Ferro

Artist Lisa Nilsson’s “Tissue Series” turns traditional Japanese mulberry paper and the gilded edges of used books into intricate images of the human body. If the Bodies exhibit makes you squeamish but you still long to know how organs, blood vessels, and bones fit together inside the body, this is your kind of art.  

Called quilling, the technique is the backbone of a centuries-old decorative art that was once very popular with 16th- and 17th-century European nuns, according to enthusiasts

Nilsson’s cross sections of human craniums, pelvises, abdomens, and extremities are inspired by illustrations from old anatomy books and the Visible Human Project, a project from the National Library of Medicine. 

The image above is a cross section of the shoulders, and here is a close-up of a woman’s abdomen. (Yes, that’s a butt and some lady parts.)

This is a woman's head. Look at those tongue muscles!

This is a man's upper body.

This one has a halo reminiscent of Renaissance art:

Ooh, brains.

See more of Nilsson’s work here.  

[h/t: Lindsey Fitzharris]

All images by John Polak, art by Lisa Nilsson.