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Blue glazed earthenware storage jar, India, 1801-1920

Medical treatments made by Hakims (physicians) were contained in this blue earthenware jar. The jar is labelled in Urdu. Hakims are trained in Unani Tibb, an Islamic medical tradition. Such jars once filled an Indian pharmacy. In Unani Tibb, a person’s health and personality are influenced by their unique combination of humours, or elements, and their relationship with the environment. A person becomes ill when the humours are unbalanced. Treatment is tailored to suit the individual because each person has their own specific mix of humours.

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Glossary: storage jar

A jar used to store objects or substances.

Glossary: earthenware

Pottery made of clay which is fired at a relatively low temperature. Earthenware is often semi-porous, meaning some liquid or air can pass through it. This can be altered by treating the pottery with a glaze.

Glossary: materia medica

A Latin medical term sometimes used to refer to medical substances.