Wooden stand on arm rest, for use by a patient during bleeding, carved oak, English, 1601-1700
This highly decorative oak stand and arm rest was used to support a patient’s arm during bloodletting – a practice once carried out to treat a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. The stand is adjustable, possibly to cater for people of different height but also to help regulate the flow of blood. Once the vein was open gravity would do the rest.
The arm rest is carved with two bloodletting scenes. On one side a man is having blood let from his chest. On the other side a patient is being bled from the arm, a doctor holding the upper arm while his assistant, a young boy, is holding a bleeding bowl to collect the blood.