V. Basilico

This albarello container depicts an image of Cupid with his bow and arrow running across a landscape with trees and a tower in the background. Abstract designs decorate the shoulder and foot. The back of the container is unadorned. It is marked just above the lower shoulder “V. basilica.” The jar would have contained Unguentum Basilicon.
Basilicon is a type of ointment also referred to as “Sovereign Ointment.” It is made from wax, pitch, olive oil, myrrh, frankincense, lard and a variety of other ingredients. Basilicon was used to promote the healing of wounds.
Currently not on view
Object Name
jar, albarello
date made
18th century
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 22.8 cm x 12.5 cm; 8 31/32 in x 4 29/32 in
overall: 9 1/8 in x 4 1/2 in; 23.1775 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 555
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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