A unique example of the traditional French pharmacy mortar, this cast iron version is from circa 1800 and features a large wooden pestle (16 inches tall with a diameter of 2 ¾) with a lovely honey hue. The brown-colored iron has developed a blackened patina in some areas and features three rings of molding at both the top and bottom. What makes the mortar so distinctive are the two tapering round handles that angle downwards on the sides, providing an easy way to carry the weighty mortar.
Often made of durable materials, such as stone or marble, mortars were designed to withstand the grinding of the pestle. In France, they were used in the kitchens of grand chateaux. They were also used in apothecaries by pharmacists to crush the herbs into powder for medicinal purposes. Today, most savvy collectors utilize mortars as decorative bowls in various rooms of the house.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition, with fleabites and light oxidation to the iron. Minor wear to the wooden pestle and the interior of the mortar, commensurate with grinding herbs in French pharmacies and kitchens.