Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hundreds of centuries-old apothecary jars!

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(All photos can be enlarged with a click, then one more click.)


In yesterday's post we talked about the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Museum, located on the Via Dolorosa, in the Flagellation Monastery,  near the Lions Gate.

One of its unique treasures is the Pharmacy of St. Saviour's Monastery.


Here is how the Custody of the Holy Land website describes it:
 "The Pharmacy of St. Saviour's Monastery in Jerusalem dates back to as early as 1620. However its real development  must be attributed to Fr Anthony Menzani of Cuna (1650 - 1729) - a friar physician and pharmacist. 
It was described as one of the finest pharmacies in the Christian world at that time. 
Fr Anthony worked tirelessly practicing his medical art day and night. But he also loved his pharmacy. After many years work Fr Anthony invented and formulated the well renowned "Balsam of Jerusalem' which was an important remedy for various ailments for about two centuries in Europe and the near East."

"Commissioned by the Custody of the Holy Land to the firm of Boselli in Savona, near Genoa in Italy, the collection was embellished by supplementary pieces coming from Venice. The Savona pots are dated from the middle of the 17th century up to the 19th century. 
Many of them have the firm's mark on the bottom (a hawk with crown) and also the signature: "Giacomo Boselli Savona 1791". On the face of the jugs, along with the name of the drug and decorations, are painted the coat of arms of the Custody of the Holy Land and that of the Republic of Genoa."


Here is the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venice.


The photos from 1893 are so nice.

Today's Franciscans describe their former pharmacy in the sign:
. . .
Located in the main monastery of the Custody, it was the only pharmacy in Jerusalem for many centuries.
The pharmacy served the needs of friars, pilgrims and local population, irrespective of creed.
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If you'd like to delve into the fascinating details, there is an article for you at Jerusalem Balsam website called
Franciscans Medical, An Early Glimpse at Western Medicine in Jerusalem 1700-1840:
The Case of the Jews and the Franciscans Medical Activity, by Zohar Amar and Efraim Lev.
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See also my posts about the  Materia Medica in the History of Jerusalem  exhibit that is or was at Shaare Zedek Hospital:
 http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.il/2011/07/for-good-for-blessing-for-healing-and.html
and
http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.il/2011/07/concocting-cure.html
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6 comments:

Robert Geiss said...

What joy for the sense of sight and thought.
How wonderful to travel through time with your entries. Much enjoyed.

Please have a good Friday ahead.

Kay said...

I can just imagine how they had to experiment trying to figure out what sort of herbs would cure something and what could kill.

VP said...

A wonderful collection perfectly preserved!

Suzanne said...

Interesting! Beautiful pottery, looks like so much that is in the Old City only much more delicate.
Shabbat Shalom

JM said...

What a fabulouis collection!

Hilda said...

This is fascinating! And what a lovely collection of jars!