A container with a bezoar or "Goa Stone," manufactured by Portuguese Jesuits as a medicinal cure-all

Source: http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/search/LotDetail.asp?sid=&intObjectID=4304482&SE=CMWCAT03+209985+1174251500+&QR=M+1+68+Aqc0000900+180202++Aqc0000900+&entry=india&SU=1&RQ=True&AN=69
(downloaded May 2004)

"An Anglo-Indian Parcel-Gilt Goa or Bezoar Stone Holder and Stone. Apparently unmarked, 17th/18th century. The circular section holder with a foliate scroll motif overlay, containing an oval bezoar or Goa stone, condition noted. 3¾in. (9.5cm.) high, 7oz. (218gr.).

Lot Notes: Bezoar stone, which is a calcified concretion found in the stomachs of some animals, was prized for its supposed medicinal properties as well as being believed to act as an antidote to poison. The scarcity of bezoar stones by the 17th century led a group of Portuguese Jesuits working in Goa to come up with a man made version. These so called 'Goa Stones' were a mixture of bezoar as well as other precious objects believed to have curative powers. Until the beginning of the 18th century, when medical authorities began to debunk the belief in these stones, they could sell for more then their weight in gold and were often contained in cases such as the example offered here."

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