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Monday, March 12, 2012

BEZOAR


Bezoar

2nd half of the 19th C
calcified
 ball of hair that forms in the stomach of ruminants
By s
craping the surface a powder was obtained which had a power against poisons.
Photo by: Claus_89 

OCast bezuhar, Pers zahar (antidote against poison), Eng mustika bezoar pearls. This is a semi-precious stone consisting of gallstones found in the digestive system of animals, including wild goats, deer and camels and plants or fossilized parts of animals or plants. For its magical powers and qualities of healing the body, mind and soul, Villena recommends that it be worn in rings on the right hand, on the ring finger or baby finger while serving food or eating as protection against poison and infected air. Waving it over the food and dipping it into a drink were thought to counteract lurking poison. Avenzoar recommended wearing the ring to scare away poisonous snakes. If a person was poisoned he recommended drinking four grains of ground bezoar in lukewarm water, which annulled the effect of poison. Today a bezoar stone can be worth $20,000. See manos, comer con. [ES: Luzamore. Nov 2, 07; ES: “Precious.” Posted by li Rous. Nov 29, 07; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:151; and Villena/Calero. 2002:16:11a]

1 comment:

  1. The fear of being poisoned some way or other lasted until the XXth. century (for instance Stalin). So imagine the importance of owning one of these antidotes: bezoar, unicorn horn, or rhynoceron horn were the "commonest" if "common" is the word for a rarity. In fact only kings, popes, princes or very rich noblemen could afford such antidotes as a stone of bezoar. Many of these stones were set in the bottom of precious glasses of gold or semiprecious stones, with a profusion of decoration, as can be seen in the treasure of the Dauphin, now in the Prado Museum of Madrid. Phillip the II (who knew his own matters) had a good collection of bezoars. Dinner at home was by no means safer than dining out those days. Even Leonardo da Vinci, who among many other things managed the kitchens of Count Ludovico Sforza in Milan (to despair of the cooks), gave good advice about proper manners at table. "Proper manners" meant not killing anyone at table if not strictly necessary, and if so, to do it as discreetly as possible, avoiding daggers and excesive blood spreading (we imagine he prefered poisoning by far...). Once the thing was over, servants had to clear the mischief as soon and discretly as possible, and the banquet follow as if nothing had happened... in fact, guests in the century of the Borgia should be used to such entertainments...

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