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Oval goa stone, Europe, 1601-1800

Goa stones are named after their place of origin, Goa in India. They are artificially manufactured versions of bezoar stones, which are found in animal stomachs. Goa stones are made from a combination of clay, silt, shells, resin and musk and are typically spherical in shape. Scrapings from Goa stones mixed with water were drunk as a remedy for numerous ailments, including plague. They were also placed in drinks to counteract suspected poisoning. They were highly valued and could change hands for enormous prices. This stone has a case made from interwoven gold threads to give its ornate pattern.

Object number:

A642470

 

Glossary:

Glossary: goa stone

A popular 17th century remedy for various fever-like diseases, a goa stone consisting of various drugs made up in the form of a hard ball, from which a portion was scraped as required.

Glossary: bezoar

No description.

Glossary: poison

Any agent which, when introduced into the animal organism, is capable of producing a morbid, noxious, or deadly effect upon it. poisons are usually defined seperately from toxins or venoms as substances which are absorbed through epithelial linings such as the skin or gut.

Glossary: plague

An acute contagious fever with high levels of mortality. Both the 'Black Death' that swept Europe in the 1340s and the Great Plague of London in 1665 are believed to have been bubonic plague.

Glossary: Goa

The capital of the colonial Portuguese empire in Asia and East Africa which gained its independence from the Portuguese in 1961.