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Soap Dish
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Title: Soap Dish
Identifier: 979.6.231.5
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A glazed soap dish and strainer. The strainer has a medium-sized hole in center and twelve smaller holes surrounding it in various places. Both the dish and strainer have a design of brown flowers on a white background on them. The top edge of the dish is scalloped and there is some blue ink on the bottom indicating that there was once a stamp of some sort.

Solid blocks of soap or cake soap did not come into use until the 17th century. To make the soap lye was mixed with animal tallow. Oils and musks were added to create a nice scent. Store bought soap with its refined ingredients and scents could be quite expensive. Since soap got slippery and dissolved quickly in standing water soap dishes were created to hold soap while allowing air to flow around it and dry it after each use. The earliest soap dishes were made of metal wires. The fancier soap dishes were made of porcelain and stoneware. By the 18th century soap dishes were being built into wash stands and in the 19th century soap dishes were standard part of the matching washing set for wash stands. http://www.ehow.com/about_5422116_history-soap-dish.html This soap dish is part of a matched bathroom set consisting of a chamber pot, washbasin, pitcher and soap dish meant for use on a wash stand.
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