Portraits of Lady Sword Swallowers from the 1800s

Sword swallowing is an ancient performance art in which the performer passes a sword through the mouth and down the esophagus to the stomach. This feat is not swallowing in the traditional sense; the natural processes that constitute swallowing do not take place, but are repressed in order to keep the passage from the mouth to the stomach open for the sword.

The practice is extremely dangerous, posing a high risk of injury.

Most of today's practising sword swallowers, less than one hundred in number, belong to the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI).

Originating in south India before 2000 BC, the deadly art of sword swallowing has a long and varied history. During its early history it was used as a demonstration of divine union and power.[via wiki]

Mlle. Edith Clifford, “Champion Sword Swallower of the World” ca. 1900

Here is a modern day lady sword swallower

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