Plant motifs in decorations on porcelain pharmacy dishes.



How to Cite

Tulik S. Plant motifs in decorations on porcelain pharmacy dishes. mir [Internet]. 3Sep.2020 [cited 1Dec.2021];29(114):19-5. Available from:


Plant motifs in decorations on porcelain pharmacy dishes - abridgement

 The analysis of the symbolism and medicinal values of plants shown in art is a topic rarely undertaken by pharmacy historians. This wide and interesting subject can be considered not only in painting but also in artistic craftsmanship, including porcelain pharmacy dishes. In the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, broadly understood realism reigned fine arts, which allows today's art historians, with the help of botanists, to identify taxonomically plant images. However, there was no separate or distinctive style developed in pharmacy dishes from that period since they were just a small fraction of all porcelain production. The only common feature of that production is the composition of the decorations, conditioned by designing a sufficiently large space for an inscription informing about the contents of the dish, i.e. a label. In those designs, plants are the most popular motif. First of all, their images were very popular, especially in the second half of the 18th century as well as at the beginning of the 19th century, and dominated primarily in the decorations of tableware and decorative dishes made of porcelain. Secondly, placed on a pharmacy shelf, they gave a positive association and with their beauty encouraged to visit a particular pharmacy. However, it should be clearly emphasized that they were only decoration, not information about the contents of the dish, but still their significance in pharmacy practice can be widely found.

The most popular motifs are: oak, roses, forget-me-nots, wild strawberries. Art Nouveau, which dominated at the turn of the 20th century, was the last period when attention to decorating pharmacy dishes was paid. The aesthetic values of the containers produced later should not be looked for in decorations but in form.