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SJU Archives & Special Collections - Majolica Albarello from the Carafano Collection

Monday, October 31, 2016

These two majolica albarello (storage jars used in apothecaries) are similar in size, shape, and design. The inscriptions tell us what pharmaceutical substances they would have held (possibly a laxative and a saline solution). The jar with the dark blue background features a religious symbol, depicting two arms in front of a cross, in a yellow-brown glaze, while the jar with the white background contains only floral patterns.

These two jars and many more can be viewed on our digital collections website or in-person by appointment. To see only the majolica with religious imagery, you can choose the subject heading christian art and symbolism. to narrow your search.

Light blue majolica albarello jar, with darker blue floral decoration, and a religious symbol and inscription “el lenitive” in yellow-brown.
Venice, Italy, circa 1600
Carofano Collection # 017

White majolica albarello jar, with the inscription “ung saline” between two rows of blue daisy and fern decorations.
Italy, circa 1700
Carofano Collection # 029