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French china shaving bowl, in white china with blue details, dating from around the year 1840. In the 19th century, barbers commonly carried out bloodletting procedures in addition to cutting hair, beards and shaving. Bloodletting involved the draining of blood from a patient's veins which were opened up with a pointed, double edged blade (lancet). This removal of excess 'humours' (bodily fluids) from the body was believed to be beneficial and bloodletting procedures were used to 'treat' a range of ailments up until the late nineteenth century.
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