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Earthenware drug jar, Middle East, before 1932

Science Museum, London


Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Credit: Earthenware drug jar, Middle East, before 1932. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


This Islamic drug jar is a typical size, shape and design. Ceramics like this are very difficult to date because the style has changed little over time. The illustration shows two women kneeling in a garden and gathering plants, presumably to use in medical preparations, while a nightingale looks on. Pestles and mortars used to grind up ingredients for drugs and treatments can also be seen. The jar’s contents would have been protected using an age-old technique – a parchment or vellum cover tied off with string. This jar was purchased in Cairo, Egypt, in 1932 by Captain Johnston-Saint, one of Henry Wellcome’s agents who collected on his behalf. maker: Unknown maker Place made: Middle East



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