2 thorns mounted on cardboard with photograph and information about their use by medicine men in smallpox epidemic to vaccinate patients in Dawaimeh, Palestine, 1921
Shaheen, a third generation medicine man, used peeled thorns as lancets to inoculate patients against smallpox. The thorn was used to spread the pus from a case of smallpox between the web of the thumb and forefinger on the right hand of the patient. Three small punctures were made to introduce smallpox into the body. The hand was then smelt by the patient as medicine men believed the vapours would doubly inoculate the patient. This method of inoculation was tested by medical officers who claimed Shaheen had a fifty per cent success rate. The framed thorns were presented by the Senior Medical Officer of the region where Shaheen practised in Dawaimeh, Palestine.
- Public Health & Hygiene
- Object Number:
- Senior Medical Officer
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.