Albarello drug jar

1600-1700 in Laterza

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Albarello, possibly from Laterza, deeply waisted and decorated with the emblem of the Franciscan order in a baroque frame, with the initials S.N.S. below, polychrome, 1600-1700

The decoration of this colourful earthenware drug jar shows the emblem of the Franciscan Order: two arms surrounding a crucifix displaying stigmata. The Franciscans are a religious order for men and women founded by St Francis of Assisi in 1209. The letters “S N S” probably refer to the Franciscan hospital that commissioned and used this jar. Until the 1800s, religious orders were one of the main sources of medical care in Europe, especially for the poor.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Related people


Medical Ceramic-ware
Object Number:
drug jar
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
Sotheby's (New Bond St)

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