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1996-269

The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, tooth-shaped stones like the one in the foreground on the left were carried in pockets in the belief that they would prevent and cure toothache. It was hoped the pain of toothache would be transferred to the stone. The stone was a gift to the Wellcome collections in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is pictured here with four other amulets against toothache: two large animal teeth (A132477 and A132541), a grey stone (A132503), and a triple hazelnut (A132536).

Object number:

A132474

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    Glossary:

    Glossary: toothache

    Pain in a tooth or in the teeth

    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    Glossary: biomedicine

    The name given to the medical practice that is based on the sciences of the body, such as physiology (the functioning of the body).