Bleeding Bowl

MICHEL: An eighteenth century bleeding bowl … When doctors bled patients, the blood had to go somewhere, no?

Michel refers to bloodletting, taking blood from a patient in order to prevent or cure illness. It is said to have been the most common medical treatment performed from antiquity until the late 19th century, for more than 2000 years. The main reason for its long-lived popularity is that it was very affordable, and almost anyone could perform it. Bloodletting is almost never used in modern medicine, and in the past, was almost overwhelmingly harmful to the patient.

A bleeding bowl is simply the bowl used to collect the blood during bloodletting, and this is what Michel bought at the auction. Notice in the picture that there is crescent piece missing from the bowl, to give the physician something to hold onto.

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