This drug jar is marked "SEM: CYDONIOR". "Sem" is one of several abbreviations used to refer to seeds. Cydonia oblonga is also known as quince. A mucilage or gelatinous like substance is extracted from the seeds and sometimes mixed with additional ingredients. Quince was used as a cough suppressant, an ointment for burns and wound inflammation, diarrhea and dysentery.
Pharmaceutical 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 to museum curators dated August 1983, pharmaceutical historian Wolfgang-Hagen Hein wrote 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 11.2 cm; 6 3/8 in x 4 7/16 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 724
catalog number
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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