Plague Mask (Medical History)

Plague Mask (From Last Danish Plague):

Plague Mask Facts:
  • Bird's beak shaped face mask worn by Plague Doctors initially from the Black Death.
  • Possibly acted like a primitive gas mask.
  • Common belief at the time that the plague was spread by birds and possibly that the mask would draw the disease away from the suffer.
  • Contained red glass eye pieces which may have helped to protect the plague doctor from evil influences.
  • The beak of the mask usually contained strongly aromatic herbs and spices.
  • These additions to the beak may have helped reduce bad odours - terrible stench of unburied corpses and fluids from ill plague patients ie buboes etc.
  • Some have suggested that the bird like appearance of the masks may have led to the origin of the term 'Quack' for medical practitioners (most likely wrong).
Tourist versions of the mask are available at selected destinations such as the The Real Mary King Close (in Edinburgh), see picture below.

Related Links:

Image Credits (flickr): Top Image andreas_krautwald (cc); Top Right Image jaggitha (cc); Tourist Mask by twenty_questions (cc)

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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