A selection of early European pestle and mortars, 1300-1500.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
From left to right: Dutch mortar, 1592, ivory European pestle and mortar, 1500-1700, and English mortar, 1300-1500. These implements were used to grind ingredients into a fine powder suitable for consuming as a medicine. The pestle and mortar is frequently used as a symbol to denote a pharmacy or pharmacist.