Coconut goblet, English, late 17th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coconut mounted in silver, made by M Gill in York. The scenes carved into the coconut (a tree new to Europe in the 17th century) depict the skills of the barber and surgeon; shaving and bloodletting respectively. Barbers and surgeons' asociations date from the early Middle Ages; medicine was generally practised by men in holy orders, but they could not let blood, whereas barbers, who shaved the monks heads, were accustomed to using razors and could let blood.