Bronze Roman cupping vesel, 1-79 AD.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

Bronze Roman cupping vesel, 1-79 AD.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


This bronze cupping vesel is from Pompeii, Italy. Cupping was a popular Roman practice, which aimed to draw poisonous substances and 'vicious humours' from the body. A cup containing a piece of burning cloth was presed onto the skin. The burning used up the oxygen in the air in the cup, producing a partial vacuum, which powerfully sucked the cup on to the body. Dry cupping was performed on unbroken skin; wet cupping covered a wound or deliberate incision, and drew out blood, pus and other body fluids.

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