Wooden mortar and pestle

1501-1800 in Europe

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Carved wood mortar and pestle, probably European, 1501-1800

Mortars and pestles were a key part of every pharmacist’s and apothecary’s equipment. The pestle, carved from a single piece of wood, is used to pound and mash medicinal plants and herbs and grind up hard ingredients used in medical treatments. The mortar, which in this example looks as though it has been made from a tree branch, is a bowl used to pound against. Today, mortars and pestles are more likely to be found in kitchens rather than pharmacies.

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Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Object Number:
pestle: 220 mm 81 mm, .28kg
mortar: 214 mm 182 mm, 2.89kg
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • grinder - tool
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • pounder

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