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German/Austrian Torture Boot, 16th C

This unique and rare instrument was used more to shame a person and make them very uncomfortable, rather than to inflict severe pain. It might be used to punish a cobbler who made poor quality shoes or various other offenses. In its role to shame a person it was often used in conjunction with the pillory, where the condemned had the boot locked on their leg and were chained to the pillory, where they would also be the target of rotten fruit, eggs, etc. thrown by the local populace.  They would be forced to stand for long periods of time on the balls of their feet, for if they relaxed and went down on their heel a spring-loaded spike would come up through a hole in the bottom and go into their heel. It could also be used for a prisoner under "house arrest" to prevent him from fleeing. As such it was the forerunner of modern devices used for the same purpose, but not as humane or high tech. This example forged of sheets of iron, with the body of the foot consisting of 5 riveted plates, plus the heel. Hinged to the back of the heel is the large plate which fastened around the prisonerís calf. This was in turn fastened to a front post by means of two adjustable hasps on chains and secured with a pair of padlocks. Iron has areas of heavy corrosion with a few small holes rusted through and has a black-brown patina. The front post and chains appear to be later restorations, as they are not nearly as corroded as the remaining parts. Weighs 3 pounds 12 ounces and stands 15" high. While we have yet to encounter another example of such a boot, a pair of torture shoes, for the same purpose and also with spring-loaded spikes below the heels, is pictured in "The Catalog of Cruelty", by Steve Santini.

T1203 $2995

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