U Defensivo

This squat albarello jar has a wide mouth and foot. The jar has a white glaze and is decorated with a blue stylized floral motif with a cross–hatch border just above the shoulder and the foot. The center of the jar bears the text U Defensivo in gothic font. The jar would have contained Unguentum Defensivum, or a defensive ointment. The ointment was composed of the plant Dragon’s blood (the red resin from several different types of trees), Armenian bole, rose oil, vinegar, and wax. The ointment was used to treat skin lesions and wounds.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1500
Date made
1500 - 1550
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 15.3 cm x 11.6 cm; 6 1/32 in x 4 9/16 in
place made
Italia: Emilia-Romagna, Faenza
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 420
catalog number
Health & Medicine
European Apothecary
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Related Publication
Drey, Rudolf E.A.. Apothecary Jars
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection

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