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This vase-shaped drug container has a flared foot and lip with a whitish-gray tin-glaze with a blue design. Palm leaves create a heart-shaped cartouche which is flanked by two Native Americans (Urdang refers to the figures as Moors) holding bows and wearing a quiver and grass skirts. At the top of the cartouche two putti are holding a circular medallion. The interior of the shield is marked, "SYR CARD BEN 1708".
Carduus benedictus, also cardui benedicti is also known as the Blessed Thistle is used as a tonic and stimulant for headache, the plague and the French Pox (syphilis). Varying amounts of drug can cause vomiting and perspiration.
According to Urdang the intertwined initials within the medallion "JHC" are those of Johann Heinrich Christmann, owner of the Moor Pharmacy in Schmalkalden from 1707 to 1710. The provenance is confirmed by W.-H. Hein and D.A. Wittop Koning in their book Deutsche Apotheken-Fayencen. Urdang sees a stylistic relationship between this container and 1991.0664.0716.0717.
The Roche Collection of apothecary jars has a similar jar illustrated in their catalogue. The decoration is almost identical except for the label “Elect Reqnicol", and a few differences of the decorative motif.
Currently not on view
date made
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 18.5 cm x 11.5 cm; 7 9/32 in x 4 17/32 in
overall: 7 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 19.05 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 642
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of American Pharmaceutical Association and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History