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Wooden statue of St Tugean, France, 1801-1900

Little is known about the life of St Tugean, sometimes spelt Tugen. The Christian saint was popular in Brittany, France, and was called upon to protect people from rabies. Rabies is a viral disease which affects dogs and wild animals. This is why we see St Tugean watching over one large fierce rabid dog biting another defenceless dog. The statue is carved from wood and painted. Rabies can be passed to humans through bites from infected animals and is fatal unless anti-rabies serum is administered as soon as possible after the bite. Up until the late 1800s, there was no cure for the disease.

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Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.

Glossary: rabies

Rabies is a disease which infects domestic and wild animals. It is a virus transmitted to other animals and humans through close contact with saliva from those infected (i.e. bites, scratches, licks on broken skin). Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal.

Glossary: saint

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