Cloth bag containing turf to prevent teething pains, South Devon, England, 1913

Made:
1913 in Devon
maker:
Unknown
A132464, Small flint module, used as amulet against teething, collected in South Devon, English 1913. A132465,

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A132464, Small flint module, used as amulet against teething, collected in South Devon, English 1913. A132465,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Rectangular blue cloth bag with woollen string, contains piece of turf used to protect against teething pains, Lovett collection, from South Devon, 1913

The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, some believed that if a piece of turf or grass was placed in a cloth bag under a teething child’s pillow at night it could help with pain and discomfort.

This amulet was a gift to the Wellcome collections in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is pictured here with other teething amulets: a piece of flint (A132464), a necklace of woody nightshade (A132471), and a calf’s tooth (A665423).

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A132465
Materials:
cotton, material, paper, turf and wool
type:
amulet case
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
credit:
Lovett, E.R.