This painting is based on the medieval/Persian/Mughal tradition of painting medical treatments and medicinal herbs in paintings: Specifically celebrating and documenting some of the herbs and medical treatments for ‘women’s issues’ i.e. to induce a miscarriage for unwanted pregnancies.
Since historically most of the commissioners, painters and doctors used to be men, the history of women, midwives and most importantly women’s health and medical choices tends to be invisible, minimised and/or restricted.
In this increasingly restrictive age of women’s reproductive autonomy, it’s important to remember the history of women’s health & medicine, that women have been making choices about their own bodies for centuries and how restrictions on reproductive choices can have devastating results.
Herbs featured in here for the curious:
- Peacock flower
- Angelica / Queen Anne’s lace /
- wild carrot
- Dong Quai
- Calotropis gigantea
- Papaya (should be green papaya as the latex in the raw fruit is what is toxic)
- Blue cohosh
- Black cohosh
- Indian drumstick (moringa Oleifera)
- Fennel seeds
- Pomegranate seeds
- Citrus peel
- Fennel seeds
- Juniper (in Gin)
The 2 ‘pears of anguish’ at the top, are medieval devices used to torture those who had miscarriages/abortions or helped women have abortions.
Notes, articles of interest & assorted research for this work are here should you wish to learn more.
Size: A1 / 594 x 841 mm /Mixed media on heavy weight paper / 2018
I used gold paint to give it the richness of an illuminated book, but it doesn’t scan as well so included a photo below of the gold in the light
Click to view larger