This apothecary chest, preserved at the History of Pharmacy Museum in Cluj-Napoca, was the 18th century variant of the first aid kit. Noble families carried them around during their numerous travels through Transylvania and abroad, when they did not have easy access to doctors, pharmacists, or apothecary shops. Most of the contents are common, such as mustard seeds, but others were exotic and expensive. This apothecary chest, the property of noblewoman Tereza Kemény, also included two small jars and one drawer for bezoar stones or powders. Bezoars were stones from the stomach of ruminants from Asia or America, believed to be the most powerful antidotes. In a world where nobles were obsessed with the fear of being poisoned, such presumed medicines were very much in demand, though some contested their efficacy even back then.
|The apothecary chest of Tereza Kemény|
|Two small jars with signatures including alchemical symbols on the paper lids - bezoar powders|
|"Bezoard" inscribed on one of the drawers of the portable pharmacy|
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The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj, the second in Transylvania after the museum in Sibiu, is part of the National History Museum of Transylvania the main exhibition of which is closed, but several temporary exhibitions are always on display. When visiting Cluj, be sure to check it out as well, in the city's most beautiful pedestrian square, called because of it Museum's Square.