Physician's Cupping Glass or Alembic

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453

The suggested identifications for this object, of which numerous examples have been found at Nishapur and other excavation sites, include cupping glass, alembic, baby feeder, and breast reliever. The most recent proposal splits the objects into two types: those with straight spouts and those with curved spouts. The straight-spouted vessels may have served as alembics, which are used in distilling liquids; those with curved spouts may have served as cupping glasses, which were placed on the skin in medieval medical treatments. Only one thing is clear: after the twelfth century, the production of both types ceased.

Physician's Cupping Glass or Alembic, Glass, greenish; blown, applied spout

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