17th C Torture/Punishment Brand


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From ancient times into the 19th C branding was a sadistic form of punishment used in many parts of the world. Not only was it painful, but it marked a person for life and made their crime apparent for all to see, often resulting in being ostracized by society. This brand is of forged iron with a 16″ twisted iron shaft with ferrule to attach a wood grip (now absent). It is attached by three bars to the brand, which is a stylized capital “A” forged in 3 pieces. The letter “A” would be used to brand a person as an adulterer. Most of us are familiar with the classic novel “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a mid-19th C fictional account of an adulterer in 17th C Boston. In that account the woman was only forced to wear the letter “A” on her clothing, but in other times and places it would have been applied to the skin with a permanent fire brand. This example is in uncleaned original condition, bearing a dark brown patina and a layer of old caked on corrosion. Shaft is bent in the middle, which may or may not have been its original form.

Additional information

Dimensions 16 in