Bronze bell-shaped mortar with sharply moulded rings on rim, lower body, and lower rim, 4 centaurs moulded on body, European, possibly 1671 to 1730
A mortar was used with a pestle to crush and grind ingredients to create drug preparations – often in the form of powders, ointments or solutions. This mortar is typical of the period as it is made from bell metal – a form of bronze – and its shape suggests it may well have been cast in a bell foundry. It is decorated with a moulding of four centaurs, mythical creatures with the legs of a horse and the body of a man. It is pictured here with a brass pestle (A659465).