Japanese pregnant dolls.
The 19th century Japanese sideshow carnivals known as Misemono were among the most surprising form of entertainment proposed to the residents of Edo – former name for Tokyo. Their goal was not only to entertain the crowd, but also had an educational purpose, teaching about the mysteries of life. One most popular attraction was the pregnant dolls. These very elaborated models bore stretch marks, placenta, but also interchangeable foetuses at different stages of growth. Primarily created to teach midwives about pregnancy and giving birth, they finally attracted a much wider audience. During Japan’s first national industrial exhibition in 1877, a doctor named Motoyoshi Hasegawa showed an sophisticated set of foetus that mesmerized the public.
Edo Pregnancy Dolls are on permanent display at Edo-Tokyo museum.