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Catalog Data

2 × 5 in. (5.1 × 12.7 cm)
Victorian (1837-1901)
A handsomely designed silver pomander which opens near the top for refilling with spices and herbs. A cross design permits the fragrance to escape at the top and bottom. In the mid-section, there is a band of wheel-like circles so that fragrance may also escape. It is held over one finger and swung back and forth or twirled to freshen the air. Chain with ring is present.
Label Text:
The pomander has been a popular accessory for centuries. These little trinkets are perforated containers, often in spherical form that were filled with aromatic herbs, flowers, and spices. The pomander could be worn around the neck, on a chatelaine, pinned to the clothing, or dangling from a chain attached to a ring around the finger. They could also be placed in a pocket or the folds of a gown. In the past, it was believed that the scents wafting from a pomander could provide protection against infection and disease. They were also a useful bauble to ward off foul smells or make one smell more attractive to the opposite sex. These globular cases were made in a variety of materials such as gold and silver, and a variety of openwork techniques were used to create their decorative perforations. In addition to the sphere, other popular shapes for pomanders included nuts, hearts, books, skulls, and ships. Some were made with partitions inside so that multiple perfumes could be held in the same container.
pomanders  Search this
silver  Search this
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decorative arts  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Frances Jones Poetker.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens