Pewter barber's shaving bowl, France, 1638

1638 in France

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Barber's shaving bowl, pewter, circular, inscribed the "barber king of the playhouse", maker's initials D M on rim, made in France, 1638

Shaving bowls have a semicircular space for the customer to place his chin in to prevent the water and soap making a mess during a shave. There is some evidence that these bowls may have been used to catch blood during bloodletting. This process, which aimed to rebalance the patient’s humours and restore them to health, was believed to be a cure for a number of ailments. The French inscription painted around the rim translates as “Barber King of the Playhouse”. The bowl may have belonged to a barber attached to a theatre or whose business may have been located near a theatre.


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
complete, pewter
shaving bowl
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle

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