Originally used as medicinal pottery jars that held ointments and dry drugs at apothecaries, these 18th century Spanish albarelli are now used as decorative accessories and are highly sought after by collectors.
The oldest Albarelli were always about 7 inches tall, and since these jars needed to be easy to use with one hand, they were cylindrical in shape, with a tapered waist and a large mouth. Typically used in Spain and the Near East, decorations featured Moorish and Islamic themes associated with those regions.
In the 15th century, during the Renaissance, Spanish traders introduced these jars to Italy. It was at this point that albarelli began to be produced using tin-glazed earthenware, often called majolica. Variations in height also began to appear during the Renaissance and decorations became more important as albarelli were known to represent status and wealth. Jars were hand painted and the contents of the jar were painted directly on the earthenware.
Our albarelli have been painted in a white background with beautiful blue shells, scrolls and geometric patterns. One of the jars has been marked as “G. Oliban”, while the other as “R. Mey”. G. Oliban is an abbreviation of Gum Olibanum, otherwise known as frankincense, which is a scented resin used in perfumes and incense. R. Mey is an abbreviation of Rubiaceae Meyna, which is a family of flowering plants that has a multitude of uses, including providing coffee beans, red and yellow dyes and the extract quinine, which was used to treat malaria.
These blue and white Spanish jars can be used for dried flowers or for a variety of items or simply as accessories on their own.
CONDITION: Good strong condition with fleabites and nicks on both jars as seen in photos. The “R. Mey” jar has been repaired at some point. Wear commensurate to age and use.