This majolica drug jar is decorated with a painted garland of blue and purple flowers. Green leaves create an oval medallion outlined in yellow and black. The interior of the garland is marked, “BOLUS RUBER” in black, and the bottom of the jar is marked “HN.” A bolus is a large pill, and ruber would likely refer to the pill’s red color.
Historian George 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 states that he 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: 16.2 cm x 11.3 cm; 6 3/8 in x 4 7/16 in
overall: 6 1/2 in x 4 1/4 in; 16.51 cm x 10.795 cm
place made
Deutschland: Hessen, Hanau
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 722
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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