The Science and Art of Medicine


On Display

Thomas Skinner's chloroform mask, c 1865.

Thomas Skinner, Obstetric Physician to the Dispensaries in Liverpool, introduced this type of mask in 1862. Chloroform was dropped from a specially designed bottle onto the mask, which kept it off the patient�s face. This technique continued to be us

Genoese medicine chest, c 1565.

This large, leather covered medicine chest was made for Genoese governor Vincenzo Guistiniani.

Two medicine chests used by explorers, late 19th-early 20th century.

Medicine chest, used by Livingstone on his last journey, 1874, small, leather, with drugs, including some from Treacher of Bombay and Poona, in 17 glass bottles, a lancet, caustic pencil, one brass weight and a folder plaster, 11860-1874

Votive viscera, probably Roman, 200 BC-200 AD.

Votive viscera, female, terracotta, probably Roman, 200BC-200AD. Votive offerings were gifts given to the gods in prayer. These would often be in the form or representation of the injured or diseased part of the body and would be left at the temple o

Wooden statue of St Cosmas, probably French, 19th century.

Wooden figure of Saint Cosmas, probably French, 1801-1900. St. Cosmas and his twin brother St. Damian are the patron saints of physicians. They were physicians who would not accept payment for treatment, an act of charity which converted many people

Statuette of Imhotep seated, Egyptian, 600-500 BC.

Seated figurine of Imhotep, made of electrum metal, Ancient Egyptian, 600-500BC. Imhotep (2686-2613 BC) was the first known physician and chief adviser to King Zoser (Djoser), in the 3rd dynasty. He was also the architect of the first pyramid in Egyp

Enema syringe with cloth carrying bag, Indian, 2005.

An enema syringe with a cloth carrying bag, purchased from India in 2005. An enema (vasthi) introduces fluid into the lower bowel via the anus. A single Ayurvedic treatment might involve several enemas using oils mixed with different medicinal herbs

Copper bowl used in Ayurvedic Shirodhara therapy, Indian, c 2005.

A copper bowl with chains for suspension, known as a dhara chatti. It is used in Ayurvedic shirodhara therapy, where warm oil from a suspended pot is slowly poured onto the forehead. Usually prescribed for illnesses affecting the head, it is increas

Stainless steel nasal dropper, USA, 2004-2005.

A stainless steel nasal oil applicator, purchased in 2005. Medicinal oils are poured directly into the nose during panchakarma, an Ayurvedic therapy. This treatment specifically targets health problems of the head, such as migraine, eye complaints an

Netsuke showing a man applying moxa, Japanese, late 18th century.

A wooden figure of a man giving himself moxibustion treatment - burning herbs on or near the skin. The black spot on his leg represents the smouldering herb. The figure is signed Miwa with Kakihan.