Offered is a very handsome apothecary MORTAR & PESTLE from the 19th century made from lignum vitae wood.
This stunning example measures 11.5 inches high with the pestle in place and is 5.5 inches in diameter. The bulbous pestle is 10.5 inches long and sports sculpted turnings.
The condition is very good with mild wear and loss to the finish, various unobtrusive edge chips and slight hairline splits to the mortar and pestle.
Lignum vitae, Latin for "wood of life", is an exotic wood native to the West Indies and the tropical regions of the Americas. It is a hard, durable, extremely dense wood and was once very important for applications requiring a material with its extraordinary combination of strength, toughness, and density. As such, it was frequently used in wood turning applications requiring these characteristics, including early apothecary mortar and pestles. The plant derives its name from its medicinal uses as its resin was been used to treat a variety of medical conditions from coughs to arthritis.
A lovely and difficult to find example of a 19th century apothecary "tool-of-the-trade!