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Drug Jar

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1902M9
Collection:Applied Art - Pottery
Date:1550 c - 1550 c


The material used to make this drug jar is known in Italy as maiolica. It is earthenware with a thick, opaque white surface called tin glaze. Maiolica was one of the first ceramics to be used specifically as a vehicle for painted decoration, either in lustre or in painted enamels.As a branch of pottery manufacture, maiolica was established in the northern half of Italy by the mid-15th century when the pots were often decorated with bold patterns in green and purple. As the industry developed throughout Italy, characteristic shapes emerged, amongst them drug jars like this used for display in pharmacies.The decoration on this pot shows a portrait of a bearded man in a damask robe, with an inscription reading 'nt agipriac', a contraction of the latin name of its original medicinal contents.

Purchased, 1902.

Further Information

Production Period:16th Century
Medium:Maiolica, tin glazed and painted earthenware.
Place of Origin:Castelli