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Pewter bleeding bowl, Europe, 1601-1900

Bleeding bowls were used to collect blood during bloodletting – a practice once carried out to treat a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. Bloodletting was used as cure for many fevers, diseases which were believed to be caused by a build up of blood. This bowl is made from pewter and has a scale marked in fluid ounces engraved on the inside to allow accurate monitoring of the volume of blood being removed. One ounce is equal to 28.4 ml.

Object number:

A43203

 

Glossary:

Glossary: bloodletting

Puncturing a vein in order to withdraw blood. A popular medical practice for over two thousand years. Bloodletting often involved withdrawing large quantities of blood in the belief that this would cure or prevent many illnesses and diseases. The practice has been abandoned for all but a few very specific conditions.

Glossary: bleeding bowl

A shallow bowl four to six inches in diameter, with one flat handle which is usually flush with the rim. Used by barber-surgeons in the 1600s and 1700s when bleeding a patient.