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Wooden statue of St Damian, France, 1801-1900

St Damian and his twin brother St Cosmas were physicians who provided medical treatment free of charge in the hope of converting their patients to Christianity. The twins are said to have died for their Christian beliefs in the 300s CE. St Damian is shown carrying a pestle and mortar used to pound ingredients for drugs, one of the tools of his profession. The brothers are considered by some Christians to be the patron saints of physicians. The statue is carved from wood and was probably used in a church to focus prayer.

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Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.

Glossary: saint

No description.

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.