Apothecaries & Apothecary-Jars

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The World of Pharmacy and Pharmacists in Mamluk Cairo Royal Poxes and Potions: The Lives of Court Physicians, Surgeons & Apothecaries The Apothecaries' Garden

Following are images of the apothecary -- a sort of pharmacist or druggist -- and the apothecary's shop. Click here (or scroll down this page) to see extant examples of apothecary jars and containers, as well as other assorted depictions of them.

See also the apothecary museums at Heidelberg, Brixen, Krakow, and Troyes.



The illustrations above show the apothecary in front of shelves of containers of materia medica. Following are actual examples of those containers, as well as other assorted depictions of such containers.

A few of the containers are better known by their Italian names: the most common of these terms are the albarello (usually a cylindrical jar, often containing ointments) and the orciuolo (a large oval jar, often with two handles, for liquids).

Mary Magdalene is often depicted with a small apothecary jar; according to Magdalene.org,

This jar is meant to remind the viewer of Mary Magdalene's role as the woman who went to the tomb to anoint Jesus after the Sabbath, only to find him resurrected. To the extent that Mary Magdalene was believed to have been the woman who performed the anointing before the crucifixion, the jar was related to that scene as well.