Cylindrical Drug Jar (Albarello)
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Italian, Faenza, about 1480
Tin-glazed earthenware
H: 12 3/8 x Diam. [lip]: 4 3/8 x W: 4 7/8 in.

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The painted label on this jar identifies its contents in Latin as syrupus acetositatis citriorum, or syrup of lemon juice. Latin was the language of all scientific writing in the 1400s. This preparation was used to reduce inflammations, calm fevers, quench thirst, and counteract drunkenness and dizziness. The tapered shape of this container made it easy to grasp and pour. The wide lip on its tall neck held a string, which secured the leather, paper, or cloth cover in place.

The jar displays a common late fifteenth-century motif of undulating leaves, known as scrolling Gothic leaves after a type of broad-leaf decoration found in the border illuminations of contemporary manuscripts.