This albarello–shaped drug jar has an off–white underglaze with a muted blue, yellow, and green palette. A yellow–haired putti with blue and yellow wings is sitting on a tuft of green grass. Thin bands of blue encircle the jar just above the upper shoulder and below the bottom shoulder. Text in between the lower bands reads VNG EGYPTIAC.
Based on its muted palette, pharmacy historian George Urdang believed this piece to be of 18th-century origin from the Castelli region. The bottom of the jar is marked in glaze with the initials, G.B.C. He believed the artist to be Rocco di Castelli. The jar would have contained Unguentum Egyptiacum, Latin for Egyptian ointment. Egyptian ointment was a combination of copper acetate and honey that was used as an escharotic, a caustic agent.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 18.4 cm x 11 cm; 7 1/4 in x 4 11/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 492
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
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection

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