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Bearded Man Stoneware Bellarmine Jug/Witches Bottle....SOLD
Germany, ca. 1650-1700. Brown salt-glazed stoneware, with uncommon pewter mounted lid. These remarkable pieces may be the earliest German pottery known to have been owned and used in 17th century New England. German stoneware found its way to New England aboard many Dutch and English trading ships, as documented by numerous shards from 17th century archeological sites. They were made to store anything from water to spirits to vinegar and olive oil for use in taverns or homes. Since the 17th century these bearded-man jugs were given the English term "Bellarmine" based on the belief that the faces on them were visages inspired by the animosity toward Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino, a Catholic theologian know for his opposition to Protestism. These jugs were also used in the 2nd half of the 17th century as "witches" bottles, being buried beneath hearths and thresholds or in stream beds to ward off witchcraft, filled with clippings like human hair from the victim together with nails and pins, the nails often piercing a heart-shaped cloth from the victim's clothing. See the Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, Ralph Merrifield, for in-depth analysis. About 7 inches tall. Excellent condition with just an ancient hairline on the lid. Provenance: Private New England collection..
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