Saturday, September 7, 2013


Pharmaceutical collectibles are few and far between--the most popular being medicien cabinets, "botica" signs (mostly medicine brands like Casfarina and Cortal), medicine bottles and thermometers.  Even rarer are phramacy equipments--like mortar and pestles ("dikdikan') that were traditionally used to crush various ingredients prior to preparing a prescription. I found this complete example from a newly-open antique shop at the famed Sta. Rita Exit of Bulacan.
The set is made of heavy brass--and very deep and tall--12 inches to be exact, dating from the 30s. Older examples were made of wood and porcelain, but my mortar and pestle is outstanding for its size and heft. Pharmacy was a popular course among ladies as early as the turn of the 20th century in the Philippines, a popular course in the early years of  U.P. and Centro Escolar de Senoritas. Graduates would go home back to their provinces to set up their "botica", personally preparing solutions, or crushing pills using their indispensable mortars and pestles.

Today, of course, these are becoming extincts in modern drugtores and pharmacists as the same medicine can come in many forms--liquid, powder, tablet. So, I'll probably stash this away in my kitchen and use it to pound peanuts for my favorite kare-kare. How's that for adaptive re-use?

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