This conical–shaped wooden drug jar and lid has an ivory–colored shield outlined in black. The wood is slightly warped and the lid does not separate from the container. The interior of the shield is marked, "OLIBAN:” in black paint. Olibanum—also known as frankincense—is a yellow–brown resin from the Boswellia Scara tree. Known for millennium in the Middle East, Oliban is still used as incense in religious ceremonies and as an ingredient in perfumes. As a medicine, it was used as a stimulant to promote sweating. It was also used as a laxative.
Containers 1991.0664.0889 through 892 appear to be from the same apothecary. The Deutsche Apotheken-Museum in Heidelberg, Germany has similar containers in their collection.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
19th Century
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
overall: 13.3 cm x 7.1 cm; 5 1/4 in x 2 25/32 in
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 814
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & 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
Freedman, Paul. Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination

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