Early Majolica Apothecary Jar
Italian, late 16th century, tin-glazed earthenware, footed globular body with short neck and two grotesque masks with curled horns forming two handles, [istoriato] roundel of Panacea, the Roman goddess of health, standing on the backs of two dolphins and surrounded by groups of trophies (helmet, shields, syrinxes, clubs, axes), marked "S.P.Q.R." and "1580", with "X" in blue under glaze on foot, 11-1/2 in. with lid, lid later, lacking tip of one horn, small chips in masks, abrasions to collar lip and foot edges, later paint/stain over glaze on masks, anomalies as made Provenance: Estate of a New York Gentleman S.P.Q.R. is an acronym for the Latin phrase "[Senatus Populusque Romanus]" (The Senate and the Roman People), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic. The year date 1580, the figure of Panacea, and the references to the might of the Roman Empire all likely form a visual plea on this pharmaceutical jar for a panacea to the deadly wave of plague that spread through Italy from the Eastern Mediterranean in 1580.
lid later, lacking tip of one horn, small chips in masks, abrasions to collar lip and foot edges, later paint/stain over glaze on masks, anomalies as made