Object Image

Two Prescription Sticks

A healer, who could have been either a man or woman, consulted these prescription sticks as memory aids in preparing herbal medicines. The edges of both sides of each flat panel are delicately incised with linear pictographs that represent distinct plant species. While not a formal written language, the images were clearly understood by the maker or others taught to interpret them. Groups of plants that would have been combined in complex formulas are separated by either incised dots or rectangular, X-filled bars.

Bequest of Donald D. Jones...

c. 1850
18.1 x 2.5 x 6.3 in
Image and text: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2023

Where you'll find this

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Permanent collection

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