Albarello drug jar for the Universal Electuary, Italy, 1601-1800

Made:
1601-1800 in Liguria
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Tin-glazed earthenware albarello, monochrome blue decoration, labelled "dia ratolirhan" (Universal electuary), possibly Savonese, Italian, 17th or 18th century

The Gothic lettering on the jar says Diacatholicon – Latin for “the Universal Electuary”. An electuary is a thick sticky liquid medicine and this treatment was so called because it was supposed to purge all the humours equally. Purging was believed to be one way to equalise the balance of the humours in patients and so restore them to health.

Made from a blend of boiled ingredients, including rhubarb, violets, gourds, melons with liquorice, and sugar with crushed powder of cassia (similar to cinnamon), the treatment was also used for gout and arthritis.

Details

Category:
Medical Ceramic-ware
Object Number:
A42653
type:
drug jar
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
credit:
Foster's