Pomanders came from the Arab world to Europe and were first mentioned in literature in the mid-thirteenth century. They were used in the late Middle Ages through the 17th century.
A pomander, from French pomme d'ambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet. The pomander was worn or carried in a vase, also known by the same name, as a protection against infection in times of pestilence or merely as a useful article to modify bad smells. The globular cases which contained the pomanders were hung from a neck-chain or belt, or attached to the girdle, and were usually perforated and made of gold or silver. Sometimes they contained several partitions, in each of which was placed a different perfume.
The term “pomander” can be for the actual scented material itself or for the container that contains the scented material.The container could have been made of gold or silver. Pomander can be a bag containing fragrant herbs. Pomanders were an early form of aromatherapy.
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