Bow frame amputation saw, Spain, 1601-1700

Made:
1601-1700 in Spain

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

Ornate bow-frame amputation saw, Spanish, damascened in gold, c. 1650

The level of decoration on this saw is not unusual for the period. The ornate handle was inlaid with gold, a technique called ‘damascene’. Some surgeons asked for such decorative features to be removed as they could get caught up in tissues and skin during surgery. This resulted in more pain for patients whose only relief was alcohol and some herbal concoctions. These decorative features also provided a good environment in which germs could thrive.

Details

Category:
Surgery
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A85255
Materials:
blade, steel, frame, steel, handle, brass and handle, mahogany
Measurements:
blade: 200 mm
type:
amputation saw
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
  • surgical saw