Painted on the earthenware jar are the figures of St Philomena (on the right) and another figure called Ruccieri (on the left). St Philomena (or Filumena) was a virgin martyr whose cult was popular, especially for healing, in the 1800s after the supposed discovery of her bones. The apparent discovery of her body was later discredited and her feast day was removed from the Christian calendar in 1960. Nothing is known about Ruccieri. The vases, with their snake-like handles, are 330 mm high and 210 mm wide. (A158048 and A158049 shown together).
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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.
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.