M. FORD CREECH ANTIQUES
& FINE ARTS  

 

COLLECTION OF LIGNUM VITAE AND FRUITWOOD MORTAR & PESTLES

England, c1700 through c1800

 

 

 

CLICK BELOW FOR DETAILED IMAGES AND DESCRIPTIONS :

The mortar and pestle has been used for grinding food and medicines since the early Egyptian period.  They date to the earliest shamans and medicine men among most cultures.  The tools were mentioned in the “Elers Papyrus” of 1550 BC (the oldest preserved piece of medical literature) and in the Old Testament.  Their names derive from Latin, mortar from mortarium, meaning, among other usages, "receptacle for pounding" and "product of grinding or pounding"; and pestle from pistillum, meaning "pounder", leading to English pestle.  The mortar and pestle remains today the iconic symbol for medical prescriptions. 

They also make perfect holders for wine bottles, keeping white wines quite cool.

Lignum vitae – also known as “ironwood” - is a dense wood imported from the West Indies. It was first brought to Europe from the Indies about 1515.  At that time, it was thought to cure venereal disease.  In England, beginning in 17th century Stuart period, lignum vitae was often used by “turners” as drinking vessels and mortars and pestles, as its high oil content makes it resistant to liquids.  Other uses have included rigging for ships, croquet mallets, skittles, and police clubs, as the wood is not only water resistant, but quite strong

Provenance : David H. Wilson, Teaneck NJ

 

 

 

Large Lignum Vitae Mortar & Pestles

Left to Right :

Left : c1700, 7.25" High x 7.5" Wide / Pestle 10" Long, #6191 - (sold)

Middle : c1800, 7" High x 5.75" Wide / Pestle 9.5" Long, #6192 - (sold)

Right : c1800, 9.5" High x 6" Wide / Pestle 14" Long, #6193 - (sold)

 

 

Large Lignum Vitae Mortar & Pestles

Left to Right :

Left : c1800, 8.25" High x 6.25" Wide / Pestle 10" Long, #6194  - 350.00 

Middle : c1700, 6.75" High x 6" Wide / Pestle 10.5" Long, #6195 - (sold)

Right : c1800, 8.25" High x 7' Diameter / Pestle, 11.5" Long, #9196 - (sold)

 

 

 

Large Lignum Vitae MortarS

Left to Right :

Left : c1800, 6.4" High x 5.25" Wide, # 6197- (sold)

Right : c1700, 7" High x 5.5" Wide, #6198 - (sold)

  

 

 

FRUITWOOD MORTARS, ONE WITH FRUITWOOD PESTLE

Left to Right :

Left : c1800, 6.75" High x 4.5" Wide / Pestle 9" Long, #6199 - 300.00

Right : c1800, 6.75" High x 5.5" Wide, #6200 - 225.00

 

 

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( alternate email : mfordcreech@gmail.com)

 

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M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts / 581 South Perkins Road /  Memphis, TN 38117 / USA /  Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment

 



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Collection of Lignum Vitae and Fruitwood Mortar and Pestles, England, c1700-1800