Shrew's fiddle

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A modern shrew's fiddle from Martins Rigid Cuffs
A more traditional fiddle from

A Shrew's fiddle is a variation of a yoke, pillory or rigid irons whereby the wrists are locked in front of the bound person by a hinged board or steel bar. The name Shrew's fiddle derives from the fact that if the device is made from wood it can be shaped to look like a violin.

It was originally used in the 18th century as a way of punishing women who were caught bickering or fighting.

The shrew's fiddle was used in places such as Germany and Austria, where it was known as a Halsgeige, meaning "neck viola" or "neck violin". It was originally made out of two pieces of wood fitted with a hinge and a lock at the front. The shrew's fiddle consisted of three holes. One was a large hole for the neck and the other two were smaller holes which fastened the wrists in front of the face. A bell was sometimes attached to this portable pillory, to alert townspeople that the victim was approaching so that she might be mocked and otherwise humiliated. Another version was a "double fiddle" by which two people could be attached together face-to-face, forcing them to talk to each other. They were not released until the argument had been resolved.

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External links

This page uses content from the Informed Consent dictionary which is no longer available online. See Informed Consent (website).
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