Pharmacy sign in form of unicorn's head, perhaps English or Dutch, 1700-1870
'Unicorn horns' were believed to have medicinal qualities. As the unicorn is a mythical beast the apothecary had to find a substitute ingredient. Usually this was the long horn of a male narwhal whale, which was ground into a powder to be used in treatments. Unicorns were also a medieval symbol of purity and chastity. Mounted on an oak stand, the ivory shop sign was probably made in England or the Netherlands.