Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle

Usage conditions apply
Carved octagonal wooden mortar and turned wooden pestle. The pestle has a knob finial and the lower portion of the pestle is scored. The mortar and pestle are probably not original to each other. Urdang felt the form of this mortar to be typical of those found throughout the Rhine River Valley.
Currently not on view
Object Name
mortar and pestle
Other Terms
mortar and pestle; mortar; MANUFACTURING & DISPENSING EQUIP.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
carved (overall production method/technique)
overall: 14.3 cm x 11.6 cm; 5 5/8 in x 4 9/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 351
Credit Line
Gift of American Pharmaceutical Association and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Most clearly the pestel was created on a modern or relatively modern wood lathe. it was " turned" with a cutting tool creating the shape. The mortar could be thousands of years old. A small section of a heavy branch or small tree. with the circular perimeter split off in facets. This was optional as it would not improve the implement in any way. The interior was probably hollowed out using fire, controlled embers being blown on, as they burn their way down. The heat also tempers the material which remains. ( my son makes bowls this way, and ancient dug out canoes were also created using this method.)

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