February 14, 2008

Images from North German Folk Pots

Here are a few pots from North German Folk Pottery with captions by the author. This first pot has a wonderful combination of brush marks and slip trailing. Click on any image for a larger view. Just exquisite.

The heron is framed left and right by stylized little trees and leafed plants. Around the border runs a wavy tendril with leaves and fruit. Two small holes above the heron served for hanging the dish and indicate its decorative function.
The heron was at one time very common in North Germany, especially in the coastal lowlands. However, one must assume that a picture such as this was not painted from nature but was transposed onto ceramics by copying a graphic illustration. One of the most important collections of bird pictures, repeatedly copied over a period of 150-200 years, was the work of copperplate engravings by the Dutchman, Adriaen Collaert (ca. 1560-1618), entitled Avium Vivae Icones and published in two volumes in 1580 and 1598. The native potter would almost certainly never have possessed such a work, but any copy would have enabled him to grasp correctly certain elements of the striding and the long dagger like beak, attributes which differentiate this bird from the crane or the stork, both native of North Germany at that time.

Here are four interesting links to Adriaen Collaert's "Avium Vivae Icones"
here here here here

This colander was probably used for washing and draining fresh vegetables and salad or, even more important, for draining cooked vegetables and potatoes. It could, if necessary, also be used for draining plain dumplings or semolina dumplings, which were served almost daily in one form or another; although for this purpose shallower colanders were usually used so that the dumplings would not be squashed together.

These pots were used everywhere to transport food over long distances
to fields, when the way back home at midday was too far;
or to carry food to sick people in the household or in the neighborhood. Such pots-usually more carefully decorated-could also be used for women in childbed.
In this function they are generally known in Denmark
as barselspand or barselpotte (bucket or pot for women in childbed).

1 comment:

  1. What do you guys think the bottom of that colander looks like? Flat? Dished? Holes in the bottom? I am just wondering more along the lines of how it functions.