Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi

ALBARELLO - Chemist Jar

ca: ALBAREL - Pot de Farmàcia

es: ALBARELO - Bote de farmacia

Albarello jars started to be made during the 13th century and were designed for druggists to keep medicinal herbs dry and clean. They were made with lids to help retain the medicinal properties. Decorated with the Latin name of the herb they contained and a drawing of it to help the illiterate public, which at the time was a majority, these jars are still in use in European drug stores as decoration, also in household kitchens to keep spices and herbs for cooking. Over the centuries the lids became damaged or broken so modern ones, made in the antique style, can now be bought with or without lids. The common name for them now is chemist or herb jar.

The top photo shows two jars made in the classical shape but there are others such as calices and orzas; they are all made in many different sizes.

Read more about: Majolica: 5g – Painting jars / Majolica: 5h – Twelve photos of painted jars