The Science and Art of Medicine


    On Display

    The 'Miraculous Chair of Palermo', parturition chair, early 18th century.

    This chair is also known as a birthing chair and is designed so that it can be folded up. It is made out of wood and has a leather seat and is reputed to come from Sicily. Women used it when they were giving birth and it has been estimated that it wa

    Contraceptive sponges, early 20th century.

    This particular contraceptive sponge (illustrated on the far right) is made out rubber and has a central cavity for a suppository and a handle for removal. �Occlusator� is its brand name. It is illustrated with a number of other sponges

    Syringe, Sri Lankan, 16th century.

    An ivory enema syringe from Sri Lanka dating from the late 1700s. 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 – depend

    Bronze figure showing acupuncture points, Chinese, early 18th century.

    A bronze acupuncture training model used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for teaching the position of acupuncture points on the body. The model was covered in a thick layer of wax and filled with water or mercury. Students pressed acupuncture needl

    Surgical instrument set, Indian, c 19th century.

    Surgical instrument set in wooden case, India, 1800-1899

    Male anti-masturbation device, British, 1871-1930.

    Male anti-masturbation apparatus, c.1871-1930. This metal device is one of a number of similar devices which were invented in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to prevent masturbation. A leather strap which would have kept it in place is now missin

    Fowler's phrenological head, English, 1860-1896.

    Glazed phrenological bust by Lorenzo Niles Fowler (1811-1896) displaying 42 phrenological organs and their names on one side and their seven collective groupings on the other. Fowler�s own additions such as Conjugality (Love of matrimony) and Sublimi

    Genoese medicine chest, c 1565.

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

    The development of the human embryo, early 19th century.

    This is a set of nine wax plaques that show different stages in the dissection of a female figure and the development of the human embryo. They were probably made in Vienna, Austria.

    Traction apparatus, probably from 16th century Italy.

    Traction apparatus, used to support fractures and dislocations and correct limb deformities. Constructed of iron, brass and wood, it is believed to have been made in Italy during the 16th century.