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Drug jar

Drug jar

  • Place of origin:

    Castel Durante (possibly, made)
    Venice (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1556 c. (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware with painted decoration

  • Museum number:

    2587-1856

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, case 9

Jars of this type were used for storing drugs. It would have been part of a set of similar jars for different drugs, belonging to a pharmacy. The constriction just underneath the rim was used to close the pot off with a piece of parchment or paper and a string.
The Latin inscription on the painted label refers to the original contents of the jar: 'Mostard f.', or fine mustard, which was used for instance as a plaster. When applied to the skin, it causes mild irritation that increases the local blood supply, resulting in a warm, tingling sensation. It was thought to be beneficial in the treatment of various diseases.
Pharmacies in the Renaissance period were usually run by a monastic orders as part of their hospitals, or sometimes by one of the leading local families.
This large jar is decorated with a medley of implements and instruments of alchemy, house keeping, music and science, including painted earthenware jugs, two globes and a box on the opened lid of which is the date '1556'.

Physical description

Large drug-jar of tin-glazed earthenware, painted in blue, olive-green and opaque white. On the front a large scroll, inscribed with Gothic letters: 'Mostard f. Around this a medley of implements and instruments of alchemy, house keeping, music and science. On a painted opened box, the date '1556'.

Place of Origin

Castel Durante (possibly, made)
Venice (possibly, made)

Date

1556 c. (made)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware with painted decoration

Marks and inscriptions

'Mostard f.'
fine mustard

Distinct scratchmarks on the bottom.
It is not quite known what these marks indicate, but they were possibly an indication of content measurement.

1556
date

Dimensions

Height: 38.5 cm, Diameter: 30 cm, Weight: 7.62 kg

Object history note

Purchased from Signol, Paris. Transferred to Circulation in 1909.

Historical context note

The Latin inscription on the painted label refers to the original contents of the jar, fine mustard.

Descriptive line

Drugjar, tin-glazed earthenware, painted in colours and with inscription: 'Mostard f.'

Subjects depicted

Flower

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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