Mole's foot amulet, Norfolk, England, 1890-1910

Made:
1890-1910 in Downham Market
maker:
Unknown

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Left hand side - A79966, Mole's foot amulet, carried loose as a cure for cramp and toothache, from Downham, Norfolk,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Mole's foot amulet, worn loose as a cure against cramp and toothache, from Downham, Norfolk, October 1910. The growing
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Mole's foot amulet, carried loose as a cure for cramp and toothache, from Downham, Norfolk, October 1910

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, carrying a mole’s forefoot in a pocket as an amulet to prevent cramp is a medical tradition specific to the East Anglia region of England. The feet were either hacked off a mole or bought from a shop.

As an amulet against toothache, moles’ feet have a much longer and wider tradition, being recommended by the Roman writer Pliny in the first century CE. The mole foot was purchased in 1930 from Edward Lovett’s (1852-1933) collection of British amulets and charms. it is shown here with a similar example (A79964).

Related people

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A79966
Materials:
bone, hair, skin
type:
mole footamulets
taxonomy:
  • animal remains
  • organ - animal material
credit:
Lovett collection
status:
Loan

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.