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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Maker(s):Wedgwood, Josiah & Sons
Culture:English (1759-2005)
Title:leech jar
Date Made:ca. 1810
Type:Medical; Container
Materials:ceramic: lead-glazed cream-colored earthenware (creamware)
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; Staffordshire; Etruria
Measurements:overall: 14 in x 11 1/2 in x 9 1/8 in (top) x 5 3/4 in (base); 35.56 cm x 29.21 cm x 23.1775 cm
Accession Number:  HD 54.205

English creamware leech jar with a perforated acorn-shaped knop on a multi-perforated domed lid and two upturned coiled handles, which is stamped "WEDGWOOD" in an arc and possibly the number "5" (In the Queensware shape book in the Wedgwood Archives, this object is listed as shape no. 1111) near the inside of the rim edge of the flared foot. Leeches were widely used for centuries to relieve the congestion of what was considered excess blood. Leech jars were displayed in apothecary shop windows to indicate that leeches were sold there. Most doctors in New York City and Boston bought leeches imported from central and northern Europe, but Philadelphia doctors tended to use leeches from the lower Delaware River. American leeches were noted to be less voracious than those from Europe: it took six American leeches to draw 1oz of blood, a task that one European leech could easily accomplish. These freshwater parasetic invertebrates were applied to many parts of the body, and internal leeching was also used. American commonly used leeches at home to treat themselves for a variety of ailments. A similar leech jar, which is decorated in red enamel and has "LEECHES" inscribed on the side, is in the York Castle Museum, York, England. This jar has a paper tag attached under the lid which reads: "#907/China/Leech/Jar/Wedgwood/IMX"

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