This blue and white albarello drug jar depicts two lions, each standing on one hind leg. They flank a cartouche, and support a crown in their front paws. The interior of the cartouche has a cross with the letter P at left, and on the right, the letter A. An escroll at the shoulder of the container is marked, "VN DIFENSIVO". The jar is very similar in style to the ones seen in objects 1991.0664.0669–.0673, but has an unglazed bottom. The jar would have contained Unguentum Defensivum, or defensive ointment. The ointment was composed of Dragon’s blood (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
18th century
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 22.5 cm x 15 cm; 8 27/32 in x 5 29/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 593
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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