Albarello drug jar used for Lacc resin

Made:
1701-1730 in Italy
Albarello, polychrome earthenware, used for lacca resin, Italian, 18th century. Graduated grey background.

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Albarello, polychrome earthenware, used for lacca resin, Italian, 18th century. Graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

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

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.

Details

Category:
Medical Ceramic-ware
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A42744
type:
drug jar
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle