Street dentist's cap
This cap belonged to a street “dentist” or tooth puller. It is made of brown velvet and felt, and decorated with approximately 88 decayed human teeth, once belonging to his patients. The teeth have been drilled and attached with twine. Wearing a cap like this was supposed to imply the “magician” aspect of the dentists work. As teeth pulling was painful and risky and done without anaesthetic, people needed to have some faith in the “dentist”, even if it was only the evidence, worn on the cap, that he had successfully plied his trade.
You can see more images and information about this object on our website.