Image of a double-sided fork, with sharp tips, which was placed between a prisoner's sternum and chin, then strapped at the neck. It was in use during the Spanish Inquisition.
Image online, courtesy Medieval Criminal Museum collection, in San Gimignano, Italy.
This instrument of torture, like others profiled in this story, is part of a collection owned by a group of independent scholars. The objects themselves - which have been viewed in numerous venues throughout the world - are maintained at the Medieval Criminal Museum in San Gimignano, Italy.
The curator of the exhibition tells us more:
The collection is owned by Italian independent scholars who have made these instruments available for traveling exhibits on the subject of torture.
Our commitment, which we share with all who are interested in combating violence, torture, and capital punishment against living beings, is to show how throughout the centuries human beings have been tortured, both in body and soul, in the name of the truth, its only justification often being submission to the authorities.
All over the world, in the past and in the present, torture has been practiced both against the body and the mind of the victim.
It is devastating and inhuman, in its effect. It certainly cannot be called a punishment, but is merely an exercise in brutality and savagery, akin to the crime often only allegedly committed by the offender.