Tin-glazed earthenware albarello, polychrome decoration, labelled "Ungty aureu", Italian, 1571-1630
On the right, the illustrated scene on the earthenware jar shows an event from the New Testament of the Bible. Titled ‘La Samartina’, it tells the story of a woman from Samaria drawing water from the well down which Joseph (the one with the famous coat) had been cast by his brothers. Jesus is shown asking for a drink. The other inscription gives the name of the jar’s contents, Ungentum Aureum (“Golden Ointment”), which was applied to the skin to stop bleeding.
The jar was bequeathed by British laryngologist Sir St Clair Thomson (1856-1943) to the Royal College of Surgeons in London before being donated to the Wellcome collections. It is shown here with a similar biblically illustrated jar (A633767).