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Bed pan, England, 1501-1700

Bedpans are used by people at home or in hospital who are bed bound by illness and unable to use an outside toilet or chamber pot. The handle is hollow, possibly for urination as well as allowing the urine to be poured out after use. Made from green glazed earthenware, the shape of this bedpan (circular with a flat bottom) is typical of 1500s and 1600s design.

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Glossary: hygiene

The science of health and how to maintain it. A condition or practice which promotes good health. The definition varies widely and differs across cultures.

Glossary: bedpan

Shallow containers made of metal, glass or plastic designed to be used for urination or defecation by people confined to bed.