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Goa stone, Europe, 1601-1700

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Goa stones are named after their place of origin, Goa, in India. They are artificially manufactured versions of the bezoar stones found in animal stomachs. Goa stones are made from a combination of clay, silt, shells, resin and musk and are typically spherical in shape. Scrapings from Goa stones mixed with water were drunk as a remedy for numerous ailments, including plague. They were also placed in drinks to counteract suspected poisoning. Goa stones were highly valued and could change hands for enormous prices. This stone has an ornate case made from silver with a silver tripod stand.

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Glossary: goa stone

A popular 17th century remedy for various fever-like diseases, a goa stone consisting of various drugs made up in the form of a hard ball, from which a portion was scraped as required.

Glossary: bezoar

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Glossary: Goa

The capital of the colonial Portuguese empire in Asia and East Africa which gained its independence from the Portuguese in 1961.