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Spouted Drug Jar with Male Heads

c. 1540-1550
Workshop of Orazio Pompei (Italian (active Castelli), c. 1510/20–after 1590)

The source of this distinctive pot and others like it was long a mystery until archaeological digs at Castelli revealed many related fragments. These drug jars are so numerous that there must have been several orders for them, the most famous being for the Orsini and Colonna families in Rome. The dragon spout recalls that of metal ewers.

The inscription on the jar reads “syropo de agresta,” which is a vinegarlike compound made from unripened grapes that was taken as a general health tonic.

Object Details

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