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Sedan chair used to carry patients to hospital, South America, 1701-1900

Sedan chairs were a means of transport that were usually carried on two long poles by up to four people. These expensive items were once commonly seen across much of Europe. This elaborate example has red velvet cushions padded with straw, with white curtains for privacy. For much of its working life it was used to carry patients to and from hospital in the city of La Paz, Bolivia, in South America. Being carried in the chair would have been uncomfortable – although not as uncomfortable as having to carry it. Even without a patient in the chair, its weight would make it difficult to carry.

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Glossary: sedan chair

Portable chair consisting of canvas hung on two long poles. Sedan chairs were sometimes used to transport the sick.