Rare “Pear of Anguish” Torture Device


This extremely rare piece clearly exhibits the history of man’s cruelty to his fellow man. This
device was designed to inflict extreme pain and physical damage to its victim, though it
was rarely fatal by itself. It consisted of from 2 to 4 tapered leaves, which when closed form
a tapered pear shape to insert into a variety of orifices of the victim (mouth, anus, vagina).
This alone could cause severe pain, but the real torture was when the thumb screw on the
end was turned, expanding the leaves, in this case to a maximum diameter of over 3″. The
pear was used as punishment for liars, blasphemers, adulterers and various sexual crimes.
The type used in the mouth usually varied from those used in the vagina or rectum, which
was used on women and homosexual men. Of smaller size than usually encountered, this
example likely intended for either anal or vaginal use as opposed to those intended for use
in the mouth. Fashioned entirely out of iron and featuring four 3 1/4″ long leaves, each
with classical foliate and geometric decoration in relief. The large thumb screw with
matching pierced classical decoration. Length 6″ when closed, 5 1/8″ when fully open.
Shows great age with dark patina and rust marking. While of 16th/17th C style and
certainly quite old, it is impossible to determine its exact age.