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Spectacular "Star of David" Westerwald Stoneware Pitcher
c. 1760-90 18th Century Colonial Era, Westerwald Stoneware Pitcher, with a central Judaical "Star of David" with Winged Horses on either side as Decoration, Blue and Gray coloration, Choice Extremely Fine.
This highly decorative, beautifully designed Westerwald Stoneware Pitcher measures about 7" tall x 4.25" base. It is the finest example displaying a Jewish theme design we have encountered. Overall, this example is of museum quality, having only slight actual wear with a couple of trivial edge chips at the right side of the spout and one being invisible by sight at its base. Absolutely specially created and meant for display having rich blue fields highlighting the floral and main design attributes. At center is a large Jewish "Star of David" measuring about 3" wide with two large Winged Horses facing it from either side as added theme decoration. The handle is fully intact, no repairs and retains a lovely overall luster to its glaze exhibiting excellent sharpness and eye appeal.
German Stoneware goes back to about the 13th century when for the first time kilns could be brought to a temperature sufficient to cause vitrification. Vitrification is when the porous clay actually melts into a non-porous mass. This transformation from clay to stone occurs at about 1,200 degrees centigrade, or 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

By introducing salt into the kiln at the height of the firing, just after vitrification has taken place, a hard glaze that is actually a type of glass, a sodium-alumina-silicate, is formed on the stoneware surface as the sodium in the salt and the silicates in the clay chemically combine.

A proper glaze requires 2.5 kg, or about 5 lb. of salt per cubic meter of kiln space. To keep the salt from accumulating in the vessels, they are fired either upside down or in capsules. The salt glazed stoneware is now impervious to all liquids except hydrofluoric acid. Before the development of stoneware, ceramic vessels had to be given a glaze, usually a lead glaze, so that liquids could not seep through their porous walls.

Because stoneware is vitrified and not porous, it does not actually require a glaze, but a glaze is added for aesthetic purposes, and of course it makes the job of cleaning much easier.

The stoneware clays in the west of Germany are white-yellow when they come out of the ground. The clay is finely ground and screened to remove any impurities. The clay is then mixed with quartz and fluxing agents in the following proportions, the exact percentages depending on the actual receipe used by any particular factory: clay, 30-70%, quartz, 30-60% and fluxing agents (lime, magnesia, alkalis) 5-25%.

Once the clay has been prepared, it is mixed with water to one of two consistencies depending on the method of production. If plaster molds are to be used, the clay is mixed into a "slurry" that has the consistency of runny cake batter. This is then poured into the mold and the plaster absorbs the moisture out of the slurry, leaving a leathery shell.

After an exact amount of time, the excess slurry is poured off and the remaining shell is removed from the mold. At this point, if the stein still needs a handle, it is added and the stein is set aside for a while to dry.

(Article written by John McGregor)
Table of Contents >> Historical >> Colonial America >>
Item #104853Price: $2,495.00Add to Cart
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