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Double bladed bistoury caché, Europe, 1501-1530

Bistoury caché literally translates from the French as “hidden knife”. The device was used to cut internal organs or to open cavities, particularly during the surgical removal of a bladder or kidney stone – a practice known as lithotomy. This object was collected by Henry Wellcome from the private collection of Noel Hamonic (active 1850-1928). Two collections were purchased; one of surgical instruments in June 1928 for £4,400 and one of pharmacy items in July 1928 for £803.

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Glossary: bistoury caché

A long, narrow-bladed knife, with a straight or curved edge and sharp or blunt point (probe-point); used for opening or slitting cavities or hollow structures. Bistoury caché literally translates as hidden knife