About this artwork
A fitting accessory for an eerie end, this tiny macabre pendant—under an inch tall and wide—is also a rather surprisingly complicated spice box. The miniature spring-loaded button on the top opens the skull to reveal two sections, the back one divided into four compartments, and a panel engraved with the names of four aromatics: Negal (cloves), Muscha (nutmeg), Canel (cinnamon) and Schlag (schlagwasser, a mixture of brandy, primrose petals, and violets, thought to be a cardiac stimulant). The openings for the eye sockets, nasal passages, and missing teeth are not just anatomically correct; these perforations would have allowed the fragrances of the secreted spices to waft out and work their medicinal magic.
- Spice Box Shaped as a Skull
- Silver gilt
- 3.2 × 2.2 × 2.7 cm (1 7/8 × 1 1/16 × 1 1/4 in.)
- Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf