Stoneware jug with pewter mounts, by Jan Emens Mennicken

From Raeren, Rhineland, now Belgium, AD 1576

With scenes of peasants, dancing and music, after Sebald Beham

Stoneware is clay that has been fired at an extremely high temperature, resulting in a hard body that is impervious to water. Stoneware is often covered (as here) with a salt glaze, which is usually rough and slightly pitted, and is produced by throwing salt into the kiln. The Rhineland became a major centre for the production of stoneware from the thirteenth century, with workshops operating in Cologne, Frechen Siegburg and Raeren. By the sixteenth century these workshops were producing highly artistic wares applied with moulded decoration. The decoration comprised mythological and biblical scenes, often based on contemporary engravings, or naturalistic foliate ornament, political images and armorial devices.

This example has a moulded low-relief frieze of peasant scenes with accompanying narrative text around the neck. They are based on scenes in a series of engravings by Sebald Beham (1500-50) entitled Das Bauernfest (‘The Peasant Festival'), published in Nuremberg in 1546/7. The peasant scenes depict lovers behind a hedge, a brawl and a peasant's feast. Around the body of the jug is a moulded low-relief frieze of dancers and musicians, with the names of the dancers above the heads of each pair.

Each frieze is dated 1576 and has the monogram of ‘IE' for the potter Jan Emens Mennicken, who was the most important potter and maker of stoneware at Raeren between 1568 and 1594. The names above the dancers do not correspond with the names in the original engravings by Beham, and it is possible that Mennicken replaced them with the names of people he knew.

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More information


D. Gaimster, German stoneware, 1200-1900: a (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)


Height: 228.000 mm (max.)
Diameter: 73.000 mm (rim)
Diameter: 73.000 mm (rim)

Museum number

M&ME 1981,10-2,12



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