L0057778 Brass scarificator, Italy, 1669
Credit: Science Museum, London. Wellcome Images
Scarificators had two uses. One was bloodletting and the other was to introduce substances into the body. This scarificator is typical of designs of the period and has fourteen blades hidden beneath its lower surface. When placed against the skin, and released by the trigger, these metal blades emerged and slashed rapidly into the patient. Skill was needed to make sure that the blades did not go too deep into the body.

Once cut, blood could be removed, often through the use of cupping glasses. The automatic scarificator was introduced in the late 1600s and, unlike most, this example is engraved with a floral pattern and a date.

maker: Boeller, Giovanni Battista

Place made: Italy
made: 1669 Published: –

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