Drug jar for Egyptian ointment, Italy, 1585

Made:
1585 in Castelli
maker:
Unattributed

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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, polychrome decoration, labelled "VGTO.D.EGIPTIACO", Egyptian ointment, possibly from Castelli, Italian, 1585

The Italian inscription painted on to this earthenware jar VNGTO.D.EGIPTIACO translates as “Egyptian ointment”. It consists of two parts honey and one part vinegar, with a good dose of verdigris – the green layer that forms on copper – added in. The mixture was then heated. Once cooled, it could be applied to treat a number of skin complaints, including ulcers. It is thought the ointment was either invented in Egypt or was popular there, giving the mixture its name.

Details

Category:
Medical Ceramic-ware
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A43260
type:
albarello
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • drug jar
credit:
Sotheby's