Cupping by Female Practitioners in Late Medieval Art
@ International Museum of Surgical Science
1524 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610
Opening Friday, October 14th, from 12PM - 1PM
This talk focuses on several late medieval manuscripts that depict scenes of cupping enacted by women practitioners. Cupping, or the application of heated glass cups to the skin to suction away toxins, was among the key surgical interventions used to maintain health in the Middle Ages. Alongside phlebotomy, leeching and scarification, cupping was generally understood as a practice overseen by surgeons and used for the management of a patient’s humoral balance. Such representations provide a window onto women’s accepted roles in healthcare, encouraging us to think about the relationships between the images and real-world practice. Providing evidence for the fluidity of the boundaries between domestic care and surgical treatments, these images reinforce the complex and wide-ranging involvement of women in medieval healthcare.
You can purchase Visualizing Household Health by Jennifer Borland here.
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