A Rare Large Bezoar Stone mounted on a wood base
Size: 7cm dia, 7.5cm high (with base) – 2¾ ins dia., 3 ins high (with base)
See: Finch and Co, catalogue no. 5, item no. 37, and catalogue no. 11, item no. 83, for other examples of Bezoar stones.
Bezoar stones were famed for their powers as an antidote to poison and melancholy. During the 16th and 17th centuries the Portuguese did a roaring trade in these exotic stones many of which came from Malacca. The Portuguese Garcia De Orta published a work on the drugs of India in 1563 and devoted several pages to the medicinal properties of bezoar stones. Later the inventory of the estate of Catherine of Bragança, who died in Lisbon in 1705, details several bezoars one of which was set in gold filigree and had a chain which would have enabled it to be put into drinks of wine or water thereby emphasising its quality.