Gum ammoniacum

Dublin Core


Gum ammoniacum


Gum ammoniacum is a resin that exudes from damaged stems and roots of Doromea ammoniacum D. Don (Apiaceae), a perennial plant which grows in Iran, Afghanistan, and northern India.


In Ms. Fr. 640:
Fol. 42r - “Wax for seal and imprint”
For the large wax seals, you need to have tepid water always ready & apre keep your wax in it. But before, it should have been kneaded between your hands to render it very uniform, for otherwise the water that would get in between would prevent it from becoming uniform. Next, you will press it into whatever you want and put three or four pieces of paper on, & with a stick you even & round like a pestle, you will roll it as if you wanted to polish it, and it will attach itself to the paper, which will help you lift it off the mold. Thus you will imprint better than if you were to cast it molten. You can carve the figures & gild them, silver them, & paint them with colors in varnish, & transfer them onto a base of glass painted with colors in turpentine & mastic. And if you want to apply these plates by incrustation, do it with gum ammoniac tempered with vinegar, and you will have good glue.

At left top margin of fol. 10r - “Counterfeit jasper”:

Fol. 10r - “Counterfeit jasper”
…You can encrust beds with it & on the joints you can throw the filings of talc or of pins on the fresh cement of the said joints. One needs to join them with gum ammoniac soaked in vinegar. To better counterfeit mottled jasper, apply wool with thick hairs dyed in diverse colors & intermingled. After you have layered all the colors, scrape oblique lines on them, then layer gold & silver leaf. If you layer on the horn colors of turpentine, give it a base of silver or of tin leaf. You can also file horn & mix it with strong glue, & layer it onto the joints of the piece of horn, then even it with a joiner's plane.


Hamid-Reza Adhami, Lutz J, Kählig H, Zehl M, and Krenn L., “Compounds from gum ammoniacum with acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity,” Scientia pharmaceutica vol. 81, 3 (Aug 2013) : 793-805.

Image: Gum ammoniacum (Dorema ammoniacum), ammûniyâqûn, fol. 152v by Mîrzâ Bâqir, 1889-1890. Spencer Collection, New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Helena Seo, Columbia University




“Gum ammoniacum,” om+ka, accessed July 23, 2024,

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