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Vile Eight

The Barber-Surgeon

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The barber surgeon. 💀💈
Barber shops in the medieval and early modern period were very different places.
As well as offering their services of a clean shave and a trim they were increasingly used for the minor medical procedures due to the shortage of affordable health care in cities and smaller communities. Some areas had physicians which were paid with by public money but usually physicians were an expensive commodity so apothecary shops, home remedies, peddlers and in this case barbers.
Barbers became so in demand for these medical services that they became "barber-surgeons" and were highly respected in the community with many becoming so skilled that physicians tended to direct people to barber-surgeons for minor procedures because they so much experience!
Typical services included, bone setting, dentistry (usually removal), boil lancing, amputation and in my opinion most interesting was bloodletting.
Bloodletting was a common practice in the early modern period as medical professionals still used the humorous system which followed the ancient Greek teachings that illness was caused the imbalance of fluids within the body including blood, phlegm, bile and pus.
People believed the common cause of headaches, fevers and Hysteria was too much blood in the body so a barber would perform a bloodletting procedure to try and restore the blood volume in the body to the correct level. Interesting right?
I've developed this artwork in the style of a widely printed advertisement pamphlet using the printing press method developed by Johannes Gutenberg. The illustration comes from a German woodcut from 1568
It measures 40cm x 22cm and is engraved and painted on Solid aged wood