The Materials’ Room (Camera materialium pharmaceuticorum in its proper Latin form) was the main storage area of the old apothecary shops. No decoration was needed, as only the pharmacist and his assistant(s) had access here. In this rooms part of the old apothecary shop in Cluj-Napoca, the large three-wall closet is preserved from the Hintz pharmacy and it contains the wooden apothecary jars – most of them used for the storage of vegetal powders, as their signatures start with PULV, Lat. pulveris, i.e. powder. In the center of the room one can see the collection of hand scales, used by pharmacists to weigh the ingredients, and both younger and older visitors can have a go at the interactive corner, smelling and guessing a number of spices initially used as medicine.
|Camera materialium inside the old apothecary shop in Cluj|
This room also displays two Baroque apothecary closets, one with simple, vegetal decoration and the other with an illustration of the stages of life, from childhood, youth, maturity, until the inevitable end, in form of a skeleton with a scythe – that could be postponed by buying drugs from the pharmacy! The decoration, though slightly macabre, of the Memento mori type, was in fact yet another kind of commercial, a manner in which the pharmacists of old attempted to increase their sales. This piece of furniture was probably used initially in some Officina (apothecary shop room), as it is too decorated for a simple storage room.
See, read and listen to more on the old pharmacy in Cluj on the museum's multimedia free-access profile on izi.Travel.
Read more about the apothecary furniture collection hosted by the museum in Cluj-Napoca HERE.
|Wooden apothecary jars for Aloe vera preserved in the Materials' Room|