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 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. Pomanders were used in the late Middle Ages through the 17th century.
Modern pomanders are made by studding an orange or other fruit with whole dried cloves and letting it cure dry, after which it may last indefinitely. The modern pomander serves the functions of perfuming and freshening the air and of keeping drawers of clothing and linens fresh, pleasant smelling, and moth-free.
Pomanders were usually carried or hung on a belt.
- Medieval & Renaissance Pomanders 14th-17th century pomanders in museums
pomander in German: Bisamapfel
pomander in French: Pomander