RHINOCEROS UNICORNIS

As a symbol of membership of the IAES, a desktop sized solid bronze casting of "The Rhino" has been commissioned and will be available exclusively to members of the IAES.

This impressive sculpture has been crafted by David Mackay Harrison, an Australian artist, highly regarded internationally. His work is exceptional and keenly sought after throughout the world.

The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros Unicornis) is the international mascot of endocrine surgery as related by Prof. Ian Gough, FRACS, from a presentation in 2002. The story behind this relates to the discovery of the parathyroid glands. On 24th May 1834, the Zoological Society of London purchased its first Great Indian Rhinoceros, Rhinoceros Unicornis; the commoner African Rhinoceros has two horns. It duly arrived at the Zoo and was a great attraction until it died 15 years later on 19th November 1849 with rib fractures following a fall. The Conservator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons at the time was Richard Owen and he was offered the carcass, upon which he subsequently performed a post-mortem. He read a paper about it to the Zoological Society of London and this was subsequently published in their Transactions. It is this paper that the first ever description of the parathyroid glands appeared described as follows: "a small compact yellow glandular body was attached to the thyroid at the point where the veins emerge". The parathyroids were, in fact, the last ever mammalian organ visible to the naked eye to be discovered. Their importance to endocrine surgeons worldwide has led to the Indian Rhinoceros becoming the international mascot of endocrine surgery.

The production of the Rhino is a skilled and extended process. Initially modeled in clay, the sculpture is slowly transformed into a bronze with the initial production of a rubber mould. Melted wax is then poured into the mould to create an almost perfect wax reproduction. "Wax Chasing" is performed to remove seams and imperfections. "Gating" is performed to allow the molten bronze to travel to the mould and gases to escape in a later process. A ceramic investment shell is then built up around the wax mould with repeated dipping of the mould into a slurry followed by a sand bath establishing a hard ceramic shell of silica when repeated up to 10 times. Subsequently, the ceramic investment shell is de-waxed in a kiln.

To ensure a continuous flow of molten bronze, the ceramic shell is also heated in a kiln and a rapid pour performed into the glowing ceramic shell. After an hour, the cast is cool enough to handle and with skill and strength is devested, removing the ceramic cover. The gates are removed and the sculpture sandblasted. Metal chasing is then performed to remove imperfections. Patination is then performed to enhance the appearance with the application of chemical colours including Ferric Nitrate for reds and browns, Cupric Nitrate for greens, and Sulphated Potash for black. A final coating of thin clear wax preserve the Patina.


David Mackay Harrison at work on the clay model.

The Rhino weighs 10 kilograms, measuring 23 cms high, 30 cms long, and 15 cms wide. It is available well below the normal gallery price. This collectable piece can be ordered and readily shipped anywhere around the world, as is the case for the artist’s other works.

The Rhinoceros Unicornis sculpture will only be available to members of the IAES. Further information and the ordering process can be obtained through David Mackay Harrison (www.dmhart.com.au and email to office@dmhart.com.au) with a request for the IAES Rhino. Once your membership has been confirmed and payment completed, the Rhino will be dispatched.

Note: Although the concept is endorsed by the IAES, the purchase of the sculpture does not involve the IAES and although not expected, any complaints, losses, or delays in deliver should be directed to the artist.