Browse Items (23 total)

World map (Orbis terrae compendiosa descriptio), engraved and hand-colored in 1587 after his father's map of 1569.

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Cinnamon is believed to have originated from the region of Arabia, more specifically Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka. In 1460, it was recorded by John Russell in his Book of Nurture after the British brought it from the Middle East. In 1505, it was…

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In medieval Europe, sappanwood from Sumbawa in the Indonesian archipelago, was widely used for dyeing textiles. In the sixteenth century, the introduction of other redwoods, including Brazilwood, from the New World that were found to be more powerful…

While known and cultivated in Mexico and the Peruvian Andes, cochineal first entered Europe when Spain brought it in 1523. It spread quickly, a colorant more potent than any of the other Old World red dyes.

The exact origin of turmeric is uncertain although turmeric has at least 6000 years of recorded history of use as a medicine and within the socio-cultural contexts of the Indian subcontinent. It is likely that turmeric came to India from the ancient…

The exact botanical origin of sandarac still remains unclear. However, it is most likely that sandarac was obtained from Tetraclinis articulata, small conifers of the family Cupressaceae that grow in northwestern Africa. In the early modern period,…

Gum arabic has mainly been acquired from a species of the acacia tree in Sudan and Senegal. It has been used in food and medicine since the Middle Ages in Europe. After the fifteenth century, European seafarers discovered a copious source of gum…

Tragacanth gum is exuded from the tree Astragalus gummifer, which grows in desert areas. It is native to parts of Turkey and the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Khurdistan, and Syria).

The origin of ambergris is still shrouded in mystery. Although it has appeared from time to time over many centuries on European shores, such as Portugal, Spain, France, and England, ambergris is not a commonly-found local substance in Europe. As an…
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