Owen Evan-Thomas, Domestic Utensils of Wood, Stobart Davies 1973.
Page 72, Plate 26.
Edward Pinto, Treen and Other Wooden Bygones,
Page 182, Plate 177 and 178
Smaller mortars were found commonly in coffee shops, inns and where ever tobacco leaves were sold. The tobacco leaves were usually dried, pounded into a fine powder and then used as snuff. Mortars from the 17th to the 19th were usually turned from the imported hard wood, lignum vitae. This dense wood was not only recognised for its impermeability but also for its symbolic qualities as the wood of. John Evelyn mentioned its oily virtues as a cure for venereal diseases in his first edition of Sylva in 1664. The smaller waisted mortar in this lot was presumably used for household apothecary and similar examples are mentioned in both reference texts.