”Res Ladani” as paperweight

Among the stranger artifacts in the collection one can mention three dry, dark, not very appealing spirals recorded as small paperweights. The material they are made of though has prompted us into researching the different types of materia medica preparations, thus discovering their true identity. The small spirals are in fact a vegetal resin obtained from the Cistus ladanifer plant, a native of the Mediterranean. The substance, known as Resina Labdani (or Ladanum / Labdanum) was used in the making of both perfumes and medicines, in cures against cold, cough, menstrual troubles, or rheumatism. During Antiquity, the substance was collected by combing the beard and fur of goats and sheep that grazed among the bushes of this plant. For easy transportation and preservation, pharmacists would prepare the resin as a small spiral, that was not used for weighing down paper sheets, but for different preparations. The collection also preserves two wooden jar for the preservation of Ladanum, as their inscriptions suggest.