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Calf's tooth teething amulet, England, 1871-1915

The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, some believed that carrying or placing an animal’s tooth in a child’s bedroom could protect them against teething pains. The tooth was a gift to the Wellcome collections in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is pictured here with other teething amulets, a piece of flint (A132464), a piece of turf (A132465), and a necklace of woody nightshade (A132471).

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Glossary: tooth

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Glossary: teething

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