This vase like container has a grayish white glaze. The vase is decorated with a painted oval medallion flanked by vines of purple and blue flowers, green leaves and a blue ribbon. The interior of the medallion is marked, "EXTR CATECHU.”
Catechu is a substance having astringent action, obtained from Acacia catechu by boiling the wood in water. As a medicinal, catechu or black catechu is used to freshen breath and stop nose bleeds and uterine hemorrhaging.
Urdang attributes the containers 1991.0664.0760 through 1991.0664.0825 to Hanau in the late 18th century based on the floral design surrounding the medallion and the initials HN on the bottom of many of the jars in the series. However, in a letter dated August 1983, the pharmaceutical history scholar Wolfgang Hagen Hein believes the unmarked containers and those marked FH were made in Florsheim in the German state of Hesse.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 9.1 cm x 7.5 cm; 3 19/32 in x 2 15/16 in
overall: 3 3/4 in x 2 7/8 in; 9.525 cm x 7.3025 cm
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 687
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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