Iron Maiden of Nuremberg

Iron Maiden of Nuremberg

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Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: An iron maiden is a torture device, consisting of an iron cabinet, with a hinged front, sufficiently tall to enclose a human being. It usually has a small closable opening so that the torturer can interrogate the victim and torture or kill a person by piercing the body with sharp objects (such as knives, spikes or nails), while he or she is forced to remain standing. The iron maiden of Nuremberg was anthropomorphic. It was probably styled after primitive "Gothic" representations Mary, the mother of Jesus, with a cast likeness of her on the face. Inside the tomb-sized container, the iron maiden was fitted with dozens of sharp spikes. "See, " the torturer might say, "how lovingly the blessed Virgin opens her arms to thee! On her bosom thy hardened heart will be melted; there thou wilt confess.".

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Keywords: anthropomorphic, black, blood, death, face, flesh, gothic, head, inquisition, interrogate, iron, iron maiden, jesus, knives, mary, medieval, mother, nails, nuremberg, nurnberg, pain, spanish inquisition, spikes, tomb, torture, virgin, white, wound

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