The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library

Death Cast of Chang and Eng Bunker

About This Item

Title

Death Cast of Chang and Eng Bunker

Subject

Twins, Conjoined
Bunker, Chang, 1811-1874
Bunker, Eng, 1811-1874
Plaster casts

Description

This plaster cast was made from the bodies of conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker after their autopsy in 1874. Eng is on the left, and Chang, who died first (presumably of a cerebral clot), is on the right. In life, their usual position was standing side-by-side, with an arm over each other’s shoulder.

Chang and Eng were the original “Siamese Twins.” They were born in Siam (now Thailand) in 1811. After spending much of their lives on exhibition tours, the Bunkers settled in Mount Airy, North Carolina. They married sisters and raised a total of 21 children. They maintained separate households on separate farms, taking turns in spending a week at each house.

Doctors from Philadelphia went to Mount Airy after the twins’ death on January 17, 1874, and received permission from the families to examine the bodies. They wanted to settle the question of whether or not they could have been separated during life.

The doctors transported the bodies to The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, where the autopsy was done in The Mütter Museum. This plaster cast shows the incision, which revealed that the band connecting the twins included portions of the peritoneal cavities of each twin and that their livers were joined by a thin strip of liver tissue. The doctors concluded that the twins could not have been safely separated because of the blood loss that would have resulted from the operation. The joined livers are on display in the Museum, right below this cast.

The brothers were temperamentally quite different. Chang was a heavy drinker with a bad temper, while Eng was placid and easy-going.

Publisher

Digitized by the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Identifier

1988.1.11

Original Format

Plaster

Citation

“Death Cast of Chang and Eng Bunker,” The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library, accessed January 24, 2021, https://www.cppdigitallibrary.org/items/show/4377.