Kropp, själ och läkekonst. Kulturhistorisk tolkning av medicinska föremål från Vreta kloster.

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During excavations of the nunnery of Vreta, a number of artefacts for medical and hygienic use were found, including medical vessels, a clasp-knife, different types of forceps, phlebotomy knives and a surgical sharp hook. The artefacts show that medical and most probably some surgical activity has taken place there. Compared to other Swedish Cistercian monasteries, as the nunnery of Gudhem and the male institutions of Alvastra and Varnhem, it is clear, though, that artefacts for medical and hygienic use are both more abundant and more differentiated concerning type at the male institutions. Most notably missing from the female institutions are specialized articles used for cleansing wounds, like curettes and probes, and hygienic articles, like ear scopes and tooth-picks/nail-cleaners. In this paper, possible explanations for this phenomenon are discussed and I argue that the answer might lie in gender differentiated forms of experiencing and expressing piety and advanced spirituality. The medieval idea of the female constitution as more physical than the male may have had an impact on women’s religious ideals, apprehensions and experiences, towards a higher inclination amongst religious women to use physical ascetics as a way to attain elevated spirituality. Certain diseases and physical complaints might therefore to a lesser extent have been seen as called for to cure when suffered by religious women than when suffered by religious men. I also propose that as women were conceived to be closer to nature, they might have been expected to have larger endurance concerning certain physical ills. I suggest that what is reflected in the archaeological materials from Swedish female and male Cistercian monasteries is a higher inclination among pious women to include the neglecting of wounds and other diseases with equivalent symptoms, as well as certain everyday hygienic practices, in the physical ascetics of dedicated religiosity.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Arkeologi


Bidragets titel på inmatningsspråkBody, soul and leech craft. Cultural historical interpretation of medical items from the nunnary of Vreta.
Titel på värdpublikationFokus Vreta kloster. 17 nya rön om Sveriges äldsta kloster.
RedaktörerGöran Tagesson, Elisabeth Regner, Birgitta Alinder, Lars Ladell
FörlagHistoriska museet, Riksantikvarieämbetet, Klosterliv i Vreta
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-8176-39-39
StatusPublished - 2010
Peer review utfördNej