AskDefine | Define sandarac

Dictionary Definition

sandarac

Noun

1 durable fragrant wood; used in building (as in the roof of the cathedral at Cordova, Spain) [syn: citronwood]
2 a brittle and faintly aromatic translucent resin used in varnishes [syn: sandarach]
3 large coniferous evergreen tree of North Africa and Spain having flattened branches and scalelike leaves yielding a hard fragrant wood; bark yields a resin used in varnishes [syn: sandarac tree, Tetraclinis articulata, Callitris quadrivalvis]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

sandarac
  1. (Min.) Realgar; red sulphide of arsenic. [Archaic]
  2. (Bot. Chem.) A white or yellow resin obtained from a Barbary tree (Callitris quadrivalvis or Thuya articulata), and pulverized for pounce; -- probably so called from a resemblance to the mineral.
    Quotations
    • 1952: Oil was also used for making varnish, by dissolving sandarac in it, and as the 'vernysshe' which appears so frequently in accounts was always bought by the pound, the term was evidently applied to the sandarac, or other similar resinous substance. — L.F. Salzman, Building in England, p. 171.

Extensive Definition

In mineralogy, sandarac, or sandarach, may refer to realgar or native arsenic disulfide, but is generally (a use found in Dioscorides) a resin obtained from the small coniferous tree Tetraclinis articulata, native to the northwest of Africa, and especially characteristic of the Atlas mountains. The resin, which is procured as a natural exudation on the stems, and also obtained by making incisions in the bark of the trees, comes into commerce in the form of small round balls or elongated tears, transparent, and having a delicate yellow tinge. It is a little harder than mastic, for which it is sometimes substituted. It is also used as incense, and by the Arabs medicinally as a remedy for diarrhea. It has no medicinal advantages over many of the resins employed in modern therapeutics. A similar resin is produced in China from cypresses, and in southern Australia, under the name of pine gum, from Callitris preissii.
Sandarac is also the common name of several types of tree:

References

sandarac in German: Sandarak
sandarac in French: Sandaraque
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