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Pharmacy storage jar, Italy, 1501-1600

Many Christians have long believed that the saints are able to plead with God on their behalf and that particular saints can give protection against, or help cure, specific illnesses. Painted on the earthenware jar (on the right hand side of the photograph) is the figure of St John the Baptist, who baptised Jesus. St John’s Wort is named after him as the plant is said to flower on the eve of his feast day. The plant was used to treat wounds and is now sometimes used to treat clinical depression. It is shown here with a similar jar depicting St Lawrence (A42578).

Object number:

A42497

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Glossary:

Glossary: storage jar

A jar used to store objects or substances.

Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

Glossary: earthenware

Pottery made of clay which is fired at a relatively low temperature. Earthenware is often semi-porous, meaning some liquid or air can pass through it. This can be altered by treating the pottery with a glaze.

Glossary: depression

A mental state associated with acute sadness. Activity can be decreased, especially interaction with others, and sleep, appetite, and concentration can also be disturbed.