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Drug jar for Egyptian ointment, Italy, 1585

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Credit: Drug jar for Egyptian ointment, Italy, 1585. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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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. maker: Unknown maker Place made: Italy


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