Earthenware drug jar, Middle East, before 1932
This Islamic drug jar is typical in 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. 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.