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First aid kit

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Marcin Maciejowski, “The Doctor Said…”

The works by Marcin Maciejowski reveal interest in the present and everyday life of a human being. His pictorial commentaries on reality are the result of insightful and multifaceted observation of Polish society. The artist analyses customs, explores stereotypes and cultural patterns. He deals with media topics, presenting figures known from the first pages of newspapers (politicians, journalists, celebrities), topics of sensational events, as well as social and economic problems. He devotes much attention to the social reception of art and the role of the artist.

Pharmaceutical mortar

A late Renaissance mortar in the shape typical of the Low Countries and with a unique silvery colour. The mortar was made by one of leading casters of Deventer, Gerrit Schimmel, and it is part of a pair. The other is dated from 1688 and signed by the same author. It is at present being exhibited in a museum in Rotterdam.

“Berloce” straw shoes

Presented exhibit does not resemble winter boots. It was weaved from straw and intricately bound with string. Shape presented berlocy associated rather with straw baskets that can be purchased at the folk fairs. How could they go?

Fruit squeezer

Presented device was used for juicing fruit. Its effect was to crushing the fruit in a wooden barrel with a large knob located above it, combined with a screw placed inside the device. In this way a fluid, which presumably used not only for food but also for the preparation of various, often health potions.

Renaissance apothecary mortar from 1562

In pharmacies, mortars were used to crush a variety of substances and to make certain forms of prescription drugs, such as: emulsions, ointments and powders. The presented mortar comes from 1562. It has a conical shape and is made of bronze. Its decoration is a plant motif – acanthus leaves – with the year 1562 placed among them. An additional ornament...

Tibetan medicine set

A part of the Ethnographic Museum's collection, the so-called Tibetan medicine set is one of a few complete 19th/20th-century descriptions of Tibetan medicine in the world, including a set of medicines and a description of their application. It consists of two medical manuscripts and almost 300 medicines, or actually products to prepare them such as seeds, plants, fruit and minerals, mostly labelled in the Tibetan language.

Hurdy-gurdy from Łękawka

Hurdy-gurdy was an instrument known across Europe whose history dates back to the Medieval period. In the Polish territories, as early as the beginning of the 20th century, the tradition of playing this instrument was in decline. A hurdy-gurdy was one of the instruments used to perform church, court and folk music. Hurdy-gurdy performances accompanied dances and songs.

Wooden apothecary boxes from 18th century

The wooden apothecary boxes come from the 2nd half of the 18th century. The vessels are made of linden wood and covered with red polychrome. On the bellies, in oval Rococo cartouches decorated with gold ornaments there are names of the materials they were to contain.

Simon Syrenius’s “Herbarium”

The author of Zielnik [Herbarium] was Simon Syrenius (ca. 1540–1611), a doctor and botanist, a professor of the Kraków Academy. His work contains descriptions of 765 medicinal plants together with their medicinal use. Most monographs are provided with woodcut images of plants. As the title suggests, it was aimed at doctors, pharmacists, barber surgeons, horse traders, horse healers, stablemen, gardeners, chefs, cooks, inn-keepers, farmers, wet-nurses, ladies and maidens, and all who love and take medicines.

Poison cabinet

The black painted cabinet was used to store potent medicines in the pharmacy. It usually included an inscription, “Venena” (Latin: veneum – poison), and a symbol of a skull with crossbones. The cabinet presented here bears the aforementioned emblems of death, while inside it is divided into Arsenicalia, Alcaloida and Mercurialia. The Arsenicalia stored in the cabinet are arsenic derivatives, among which the most popular medicine was white arsenic (arsenic oxide), used as a component in various medications.

Repository for different part of herbs

The presented repository, which comes from a hospital pharmacy, was used to store herbs. The names of medicinal raw materials are placed on the drawers equipped with iron baroque handles: “HB. HEDER” – common ivy (Hedera helix L.), “HB. HYOSCIAMI” – black henbane...

Pharmacy mortar from 1615

The mortar is decorated with a flat relief cartouche, on which there is a house mark and the monogram JR, belonging to Jan Radziwin, a doctor of medicine and philosophy, the owner of the pharmacy on the Warsaw Old Town Square. On the cartouche frieze, there is an inscription in capital letters: ANNO DOMINI...

Renaissance apothecary mortar

Mortars were placed in pharmacies on various pedestals usually made of hardwood, and, more rarely, from stone. For beautifully decorated mortars, which, in addition to practical use, were the decoration of the interior of a pharmacy, wooden pedestals in the shape...

“Hydria” apothecary vase

A hydria type apothecary vase. Majolica. Savona (Italy). The 2nd half of the 17th century. Handles in the shape of (fantastic) animal heads on massive bent necks. In the front, at the bottom, there is a relief of a gargoyle. In its mouth there is an opening to pour out the content of the vase, plugged with a standard cork. There are smaller gargoyles without openings on the sides of the vessel, under the handles.

Majolica apothecary vessel

The maiolica pharmacy jug is decorated with an orange, blue, and green plant ornament. It is worth noting the unusual handle – parallel (not perpendicular) to the jug’s body – thanks to which it was possible to lift and carry such a large and heavy vessel using a lowered hand. Under the handle, there is a mascaron head, resembling that of a lion.

Apothecary majolica vessel — “albarello”

This is a Maiolica pharmacy albarello vessel, elliptically concave, created in Faenza (Italy) in the mid-sixteenth century. It has blue, green, yellow, and orange figural and plant decoration; its human figure is a herbalist with a headscarf for herbs on her back. The inscription on the banderole reads: Aloe patico.

Faience apothecary vessel

This is a faience pharmacy vessel with two handles in the shape of mutton heads. On the shard, there is a black italic shelf mark – Syrupus opiatus – water with a sugary, poppy syrup. The preparation was obtained by dissolving poppy extract – opium (Extractum Opii) – in an appropriate amount of concentrated sugar solution.

Apothecary vessel

The vessel comes from the 2nd half of the 18th century and is made of colourless glass. There is a little white lettering piece on it with a signature in two-coloured majuscule: ESS. THERIACALIS (Essentia theriacalis) syn. Tinctura theriacalis. The medicine contained, among others, theriac.

Two apothecary vessels

Vessels in the form of a monstrance for storing medicinal oils come from the convent pharmacy of Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God in Cieszyn. The pharmacy began its functioning in the 1690s. At the time, the monastery in Cieszyn was founded, together with a hospital and a pharmacy run by monks. The vessels are decorated with white Rococo cartouches with gold borders. Inside the cartouches there are apothecary inscriptions in two-coloured majuscule: Ol. Cinnamomi — cinnamon oil — on one of the jars, and Ol. Macis — nutmeg oil — on the other.