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March 2, 2023

A Collection of Teeth Pulled by Peter the Great, circa 1700s

The passion for collecting is a full time job, an obsession. All collectors seem to have one thing in common, they believe passionately in what they collect. Here, a collection of teeth extracted by Peter the Great who, despite having no formal medical training, fancied himself to be a terrific amateur surgeon.⁣⁣⁣

Peter I (1672–1725), most commonly known as Peter the Great, was a Russian monarch who ruled the Tsardom of Russia from 7 May, 1682 to 1721 and subsequently the Russian Empire until his death in 1725, jointly ruling with his elder half-brother, Ivan V until 1696. He is primarily credited with the modernization of the country, transforming it into a European power.

The Russian Czar was particularly passionate about his hobby of amateur dentistry, and would proudly carry around a bag of teeth he had pulled out of the mouths of his mostly unwilling “patients.” He often got a bit carried away and pulled out perfectly healthy teeth too. His courtiers reportedly lived in fear of Peter’s frequent enthusiastic offers to perform surgeries on them.

Peter the Great extracting a tooth.

The teeth are now exhibited in Kunstkammer, Russia’s first state public museum. They were photographed by Rosamond Purcell in 1992.


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