Cloth bag containing turf to prevent teething pains, South Devon, England, 1913
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, some believed that if a piece of turf or grass was placed in a cloth bag under a teething child’s pillow at night it could help with pain and discomfort. This amulet 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 other teething amulets: a piece of flint (A132464), a necklace of woody nightshade (A132471), and a calf’s tooth (A665423).
Related Themes and Topics
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Techniques and Technologies:
Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.
Glossary: amulet case
Container for housing an amulet
The name given to the medical practice that is based on the sciences of the body, such as physiology (the functioning of the body).