16th Century Italian Soap Recipe

TAKE A POUND OF WHITE [Venetian] SOAP, THE OLDER THE BETTER. CUT VERY
fine, put in a basin and splash with rosewater. Mix and incorporate well. Then set in the sun, steeped in the rosewater for two weeks, and mix every day. Ten days in the sun will suffice in July or August. Mix and sprinkle with rosewater until the soap is thoroughly purged and loses its foul smell. Next take half an ounce of mahaleb [kernels of the cherry Prunus mahaleb] and make sure it is ground to a fine powder. Sprinkle with a little rosewater in a mortar until immersed. Add half an ounce of liquid storax [balsam from the bark of Liquidambar orientalis], one carat of musk and six drams of spike oil. As you grind the musk, take the oil and a little rosewater and incorporate them together. Then make into little soaps using moulds or form them into little balls. Dry them in the shade, wrap in cotton and put in a box.
– Giovanventura Rosetti (1555) http://ow.ly/YVXmt
washball

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