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The rim and top of this hexagonal drug jar is inscribed with Islamic script. The jar is glazed with a striking turquoise colour. The jar would have been used to hold ingredients for preparations or the actual finished product. 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.

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Glossary: drug jar

A (usually earthenware) container designed to hold apothecaries' ointments and dry drugs.