Pewter barber's shaving bowl, France, 1638

Made:
1638 in France

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

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

Barber's shaving bowl, pewter, circular, inscribed the "barber king of the playhouse", maker's initials D M on rim, made in France, 1638

Shaving bowls have a semicircular space for the customer to place his chin in to prevent the water and soap making a mess during a shave. There is some evidence that these bowls may have been used to catch blood during bloodletting. This process, which aimed to rebalance the patient’s humours and restore them to health, was believed to be a cure for a number of ailments. The French inscription painted around the rim translates as “Barber King of the Playhouse”. The bowl may have belonged to a barber attached to a theatre or whose business may have been located near a theatre.

Details

Category:
Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
A43125
Materials:
complete and pewter
type:
shaving bowl
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle