ADVENT CHRISTMAS POMANDER

Advent Calendar Day 18

 
A gold spherical pomander to hold various scents

Pomander

These tiny decorative baubles are actually pomanders, designed to carry perfume, but the resemblance to the classic Christmas decoration is uncanny.

A pomander would have contained perfumes such as ambergris, musk or civit, and would have originally been worn or carried. They have also been used to protect against infection or eliminate bad smells. Sometimes they were made with several sections, like the pomander shown on the right, so the owner could make their own bespoke perfume combining various ingredients.

A modern version of a pomander is made by sticking whole dried cloves into an orange which is a popular Christmas scented decoration.
 


Left/above: Pomander
c. 1500–1550, Germany
5.2 cm tall
Silver-gilt
WA2013.1.28.2

Right/below: Pomander, shown open and closed
c. 1620, Netherlands
6.1 cm tall (excluding hanging ring)
Silver-gilt
WA2013.1.306.5

 

Two silver and god spherical pomanders, one is open into segments