Antique 19th Glass Apothecary Leech Jar
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A Nice Small Antique 19th Handblown Glass Apothecary Leech Jar.
This example of a leech jar is a smaller version of the more elaborate porcelain jars of period pharmacies from which the leeches would be transferred. Small jars, such as this one, were provided by the pharmacist to hold the purchased leeches.
Leeches were used extensively in nineteenth-century medicine for bloodletting, a practice believed to cure virtually any ailment.
The practice was commonly carried out by surgeons and barber-surgeons. Although the bloodletting was often recommended by physicians, it would be carried out by barbers. The red-and-white-striped pole of the barbershop, still in use today, is derived from this practice: the red symbolizes blood while the white symbolizes the bandages.
Before surgery or at the onset of childbirth, leeches were used to remove blood to prevent inflammation. Likewise, before amputation, it was customary to remove a quantity of blood equal to the amount believed to circulate in the limb that was to be removed.
There were also theories that bloodletting would cure “heartsickness” and “heartbreak”.
These also look particularly nice with small plant cuttings in for propagation 🌱
Condition is good, commensurate with age and use. Structurally sound. No chips or cracks.
Measures 7cm x 8cm
Weighs 99.21 grams