Earthenware storage jar, polychrome, decorated with scene of St. Martin and beggar, for storing blessed thistle water, from Castelli or Naples, Italian, 1702
The jar was used to store Blessed Thistle Water – a preparation made from distilling thistles and herbs. The water was drunk and believed to purge thick and slimy humours from the body. Taken in large doses the water caused sweating.
The illustration on this large earthenware storage jar shows the story of St Martin (d. 397 CE) and his conversion to Christianity. When he gave a beggar his cloak he saw a vision of Christ.