very unique early 19th century solid yellow brass metal vintage medical mortar and pestle. fabricator unknown. both mortar and pestle feature unusual knurled banding. stepped profile pedestal base. pestle contains a ball finial handle. old gold enameled finish remains somewhat intact. nicely aged patina. the english word mortar derives from classical latin mortarium, meaning, among several other usages, "receptacle for pounding" and "product of grinding or pounding". the classical latin pistillum, meaning "pounder", led to english pestle. the roman poet juvenal applied both mortarium and pistillum to articles used in the preparation of drugs, reflecting the early use of the mortar and pestle as a pharmacist's or apothecary's symbol. the mortar and pestle, along with the rod of asclepius, the green cross, and others, is one of the most pervasive symbols of pharmacology due to its classical use in medicine. the metal mortar and pestle fell out of use beginning in the early 20th century, due to the excessive weight and difficulties involving rust and corrosion prevention from everyday cleaning.