Gourd bottle, believed to be a pomander, cased, Europe, 1659

Made:
1659 in Europe
maker:
Jordan Thomas

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Science Museum Group Collection
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Gourd bottle, intricately carved, possibly used as a pomander, in case, 1659

Gourds are hard shelled fruits from a vine and this example is believed to have been used as a pomander. These were vessels used to carry around fragrant herbs and other substances as protection against infection and illness, then believed to be carried by foul-smelling disease miasmas.

The gourd is intricately carved with a picture of the Greek god Dionysus sitting on a barrel, playing a flute and surrounded by a grapevine. Dionysus – or Bacchus as the Romans named him – was the god of wine and intense pleasure. There is also the name “Thomas Jordan” carved into the bottle. He is likely to have been either the owner or the maker of the bottle.

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A641073
Materials:
brass, gourd and leather
Measurements:
gourd: 49 mm x 141 mm x 47 mm, .03kg
type:
gourd
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
credit:
Sotheby's