Aromatic apparatus

Peter Uffenbach, Ambroise Paré, and Conrad Gessner

Thesaurus chirurgiae

Frankfurt: Jacob Fischer for Nikolaus Hoffmann, 1610

The woodcuts in this medical handbook illustrate clearly the apparatus required to fumigate the womb. The incense burner, printed beneath the pessary, has a funnel to control the direction of the smoke.

The pessary, ideally made from either gold or silver, kept an open passage for the fumes to reach the womb. It was held in place by the length of ribbon which was strapped to a girdle around the waist.

The pessary’s holes allowed aromas released by the incense burner to enter the womb. The holes also helped so-called toxic vapours to escape the womb, which may have otherwise infected surrounding organs.

K.7.31 (p. 531)