Drug jar for Conserve of Alexandrian Roses, Venice, Italy, 1560-1580
The inscription painted on this earthenware jar is a shortened form of the Latin phrase Conserva di Rose Alessandrino, which translates as “Conserve of Alexandrian Roses”. The petals of these roses would have first been pounded in a mortar along with sugar. Once a jam-like product had been formed, the treatment would be taken orally, acting as a strong laxative. The vase is decorated with the figure of a soldier in Italian armour and dress.
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Glossary: drug jar
A (usually earthenware) container designed to hold apothecaries' ointments and dry drugs.
The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.
Cup-shaped vessel in which drugs or herbal mixtures are pounded with a pestle.
An agent that acts to encourage evacuation of the bowels
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.