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Jug, Spain, 1601-1700

This jug shows the administration of an enema – a once very common method of introducing liquids such as medications or purgatives into the body via the rectum. The inscription on the side of the jug translates from Spanish as “I am Don Jaoquín Hernandez’s jar. Through my intense devotion to my constitution I find myself on this occasion shamefully syringed at the hands of a serf.” In this context “serf” would have meant his servant.

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Glossary: jug

Vessels, generally made of earthenware, stoneware or porcelain and often of large capacity, which have a narrow neck and a handle (usually a vertical loop or scroll handle); may sometimes have a pouring lip

Glossary: enema

A liquid injected into the anus. Enemas can be carried out for medical reasons, as a treatment for constipation, or as a way to give drugs.