Tag Archives: bloodletting

The barber-surgeons: their history over the centuries

Anusha Pillay Raipur, India Bloodletting from the arm. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY “His pole, with pewter basins hung, Black, rotten teeth in order strung, Rang’d cups that in the window stood, Lin’d with red rags, to look like blood, Did well his threefold trade explain, Who shav’d, drew teeth, and breath’d a vein.” -The Goat […]

Training wheels

Shannon Kernaghan Alberta, Canada   Image designed by Kraven Cache. All rights belong to artist Kraven Cache. Permission to use this illustration is granted January 8, 2020. From the beginning of Paul’s dance with doctors, I have sat next to him and squeezed his hand through the pronouncement of hemochromatosis. The first doctor said his […]

More than “toil and trouble”: Macbeth and medicine

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Witches. Hans Baldung (called Hans Baldung Grien). 1510. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image of a woman – a witch — working over a bubbling cauldron filled with stomach-turning substances is a staple of both horror and more family friendly media. One such example is Shakespeare’s […]

Adriaen Brouwer: surgery in the tavern

Adriaen Brouwer (1605/6-1638) was a Flemish Baroque painter who specialized in genre scenes, particularly in taverns. He favored humble, unkempt peasants engaged in various activities, from drunken brawls to fireside chats. In these paintings the village barber-surgeons are shown performing operations on the back and the foot of peasants, who wince from a procedure done […]

Banishing that dread of being cut

Samuel Spencer Reading, Berkshire, UK   An unconscious naked man lying on a table being attacked by little demons armed with surgical instruments, watercolous by R. Cooper. In 1863, Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was returning to camp after routing Federal armies at Chancellorsville, when he was mistaken for a Union cavalryman by his own […]

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?: Erzsébet Báthory and the curative power of blood in medieval Europe

Joanna Smolenski New York, United States If the body is seen either as enclosed and filled with blood, or as vulnerable and bleeding, then blood can also only be interpreted either as life (when it fills the intact body) or as death (when it has left the body). (Bildhauer 2006: 5) In medieval Europe, blood […]