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Plague water was a name given to a variety of medicinal waters that supposedly would protect the drinker against the plague. A level of lingering sympathetic magic applied to pharmacology still existed from the 16th to the 18th centuries, the belief that nature had hidden clues to medically effective drugs in their resemblances to the human body and its parts. An example of this can be seen in the design of a plague doctor’s mask. A common belief during outbreaks beginning from the Black Death (1346 – 1353), was that the infection was carried by birds, henceforth the sympathetically magical design of a Plague Doctor’s mask resembling a bird’s beak would protect the wearer as the birds would carry the disease but not get sick from it. In the same vein plague water would protect the drinker. The title Dr. Beak comes from a parody of the shape of the Plague doctor’s mask from ‘Doktor Schnabel von Rom’ (Doctor Beak of Rome) an Engraving by Paul Fürst, 1656.


Dr. Beak’s Plague Water

  • All bottles are cast from original 18th and 19th century bottles and jars, and are aged to inclde all the wonderful imperfections and aged quality of handbuilt pottery of the period. The wood used on this plaque is antique salaved wood, and is hung with twine. The label is original ofgraveconcern artwork based upon historical medical advertising.
    Size 3.5" x 4.5"


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