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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "An English turned lignum vitae wood mortar and pestle"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
Mid 17th CENTURY
Mortar: 22.5cm high x 23cm wide
Provenance: Estate of Lord Norton, Fillougly Hall, Warwickshire.
Central America in about 1515. Its introduction at that time was
medicinal as it was thought to cure venereal disease. Lignum sawdust
was mixed with water and fed to sufferers as a form of porridge.
It is an extremely hard and dense heavy wood. In 1609 a ton was ordered
but all that the purchaser received was approximately 25 cubic feet of
The first reference to its use in turnery according to Pinto occurs in
1605: '2 Paire of black Lignum vitae bowlles'. In 1660 Samuel Pepys
wrote in his diary on November 21st 'This morning my cozen Thomas Pepys
the turner sent me a cup of Lignum Vitae for a token'. Thomas Pepys was
a Freeman of the Company of Turners.
It was natural for a turner to think of making drinking vessels and
mortars and pestles of Lignum as it is so hardwearing, impermeable to
liquids and has the added selling point that the curative qualities of
the wood supposedly passed into the drink or mixture compounded in the
vessels. Thus Lignum Vitae because the wood for drinking bowls, mortars
and pestles, loving cups etc in Stuart England.
|Height||22.50 cm||(8.86 inches)|
|Width||23.00 cm||(9.06 inches)|