Curiosities of Nature, House with a Tower, Biecz

Dom z Basztą. Sala z osobliwościami przyrody. Fragment ekspozycji.

The Room with Curiosities of Nature exhibition includes mementoes of pharmacists from Biecz, medicine and herb containers, old labels, and natural specimens such as a lobster, coral, a seahorse, a Limulus, starfish, and a flying fish – all of which had been used in ancient medicine. Entire categories of remedies that for years were officially recognised medicinal substances have vanished; the formularies and pharmacopoeias of yesteryear were full of substances that are no longer used.. Exotic creatures were ground into powder and added to medicines, significantly increasing their prices. They were intended for wealthy patients. These medicines were put on prominently display in the pharmacy, lending the establishment more prestige in the eyes of the customers. A good example from long ago was unicorn horn, which was considered a cure for many illnesses and was many times more expensive than pearls and rubies Used as a magical ingredient in ancient medicine, it was a royal gift exchanged between rulers. Particularly noteworthy items on the exhibition are the pages from the encyclopaedia of plants and fungi, painted by Wilhelm Fusk, a pharmacist, January Uprising participant, and founder of the ‘Pod Polskim Orłem’ (‘Under the Polish Eagle’) pharmacy in Biecz. The encyclopaedia served as a teaching tool for educating young pharmacists. Also interesting are the large wooden containers that the first Biecz pharmacists used to stored ingredients such as dried herbs.


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