Cupping Vessel

We have a cupping vessel in our History of Medicine Collection. It is a replica model of an original in the Science Museum.

The original is a bronze cupping vessel, from Pompeii, Roman, 1-79AD. Cupping was an ancient therapy intended to restore the balance of the body. It remained popular in the Western world until the 19th century.

Wet and dry cupping could be carried out. Dry cupping involved placing the suction cups on the skin. Wet cupping was a form of bloodletting that involved first making an incision on the skin, then applying the suction cups to suck out small amounts of blood. 

You can listen to Professor Helen King, Professor Emerita of Ancient Medicine, Open University, talking about cupping vessels here: