Macabre 17th Century mummified dog ward against witchcraft

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The practice of putting sealing up dead animals into the walls of houses has been going since the middle ages in Europe. The belief seemed to be that a dried cat or in this case dog would protect against witchcraft and scare a witches familiar away from the house. It might have also been believed that the presence of these mummified animals also scared away rats and mice.

This dog was discovered behind the plaster when the owner was renovating a house that dated back to the 17th Century. In the walls with it was also a second dog and a cat which will follow.

As you can see, the dog has been quite eaten by flies, beetles etc. over the centuries and in many places the skeleton and skull are showing through the desiccated skin. The mummified dog has been mounted in a display box which measures 58.5cm x 43cm x 16cm. The whole item weighs 7.5kg. There is a picture wire on the back from where it has been hung on a wall although if I was going to display it like that, I would put mirror wall fasteners on the box to mount it flush to the wall.

This is a great example of a folklore and belief that stretched for many centuries.

 

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