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Cast in bronze, this pestle and the bell-shaped mortar were used by apothecaries and pharmacists to grind and pound hard spices and substances for drug preparations. Both the pestle and mortar are engraved with ornate patterns. Many mortars were made in bell foundries across Europe. Today, pestles and mortars are more likely to be found in kitchens rather than pharmacies.

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Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

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.