Albarello, polychrome earthenware, used for gum lacca, Italian, early 18th century
‘Lacc’ is short for Gum Lacca, a resin secreted by insects living on certain trees, although for a long time it was thought to be from the trees themselves. Lacc was prepared by apothecaries and pharmacists who added the powdered version into a boiled mixture of water and plant roots until the solution was a blood red colour and as thick as honey. It could then be formed into lozenges.
Lacc was used to purge the watery humours that were believed to gather in the chest and so cause dropsy. Lacc was also used to break up stones in the bladder and relieve the symptoms of scurvy and jaundice.
- Medical Ceramic-ware
- Object Number:
- drug jar
- furnishing and equipment
- container - receptacle
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.