A silver pomander in the form of a putto’s head.
English, mid 17th century.
Measures 3.5 x 1.8 x 1.9cm (excluding loose bail).
The hinged pendant opens to reveal a segmented section to the reverse of the interior which is separated from the front by a hinged silver plate. The front side of the interior bears another compartment behind the pierced nose, mouth and eyes which release its scent.
A vinegar soaked sponge would have been stored behind the front compartment and the vapours could be inhaled through the small holes through the eyes, nose and mouth. The segmented compartment at the reverse would have contained different solidified scents, each with their own specific protective properties.
At a time when plague and disease was rampant, the medical theory was that disease was carried by foul air. A pomander was considered an effective measure to protect the user of such illnesses.
A similar example can be found in the collection of the British Museum, registration number: 1978,1002.220.
Another example can be found in ‘Perfume and Pomanders; scent and scent bottles through the ages’ by Edmund Launert, page 110, fig 60.
Delevery information :
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3 500 €