Title: Julia Pastrana, a bearded woman, embalmed
Source: Wellcome Collection
Copyright/Permissions: Julia Pastrana, a bearded woman, embalmed. Wood engraving, 1862. Public Domain Mark
References: Herzig, Rebecca M. “Bearded Women and Dog-Faced Men: Darwin’s Great Denudation.” In Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, 55-74. NYU Press, 2015.
Location(s): Picadilly, London, England, UK
Commentary: Julia Pastrana was a woman from Mexico whose hairy face and body made her a popular attraction to carnivals and freak shows in the mid-1800s. People, like Pastrana, who were considered abnormally hairy by the Euro-American public were displayed and publicised as sub-human examples of the “missing-links” proving Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. This wood engraving was printed after Pastrana’s death to publicise the exhibition of her embalmed body in a gallery in Piccadilly, London in 1862.
Click here to listen to a response to this object by an Art Hx team member.