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Marble mortar and pestle, Europe, 1501-1900

Mortars and pestles were a key part of every pharmacist’s and apothecary’s equipment. Carved from two separate pieces of maroon coloured marble, this mortar and pestle have a high shine and look as though they have never been used. The pestle would have been used by hand to pound and grind up substances in the mortar for medical preparations. Today, mortars and pestles are more likely to be found in kitchens rather than pharmacies.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: mortar

Cup-shaped vessel in which drugs or herbal mixtures are pounded with a pestle.

Glossary: pestle

An elongated piece of hard material usually made of stone. A pestle is used for grinding pigments, herbs, spices or other materials in a mortar.