Powdered mummy container, European, c 1600-1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A cylindrical wooden box containing 'powdered mummy'. The trade in the powder of embalmed or 'mummified' remains dates back to Egyptian times, but became particularly significant in the 15th- 18th centuries. Powdered mummy was said to act as an aphrodisiac and also a general cure for many ailments.