The sign was used in old pharmacology and had the meaning a
dose of medicine, a large pill. It also stood for bolus, a clay containing iron oxide
was formerly used by pharmcists in order to make pills, when milling
cloth, as a colouring substance, and in the purification of oils.
has been found, for example, together with , , and , on a Buddha statue from Japan, from around A.D. 760.
In old chemistry and in alchemy the sign was used for orichalcum, a golden metal alloy. In alchemy, finally, it also sometimes was used for dissolvant.
Compare with in Group 42, which is structurally similar; with in this group; and with , a sign in alchemy for clay.
This structure, turned upside down, occurs on old rock carvings in California.