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Dish

Artist/Maker:
Christ, Rudolph __Workshop of
Place Made:
Salem North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1790-1810
Medium:
earthenware
Dimensions:
DIA: 12 9/16″
Accession Number:
P-87.2
Description:
This wheel-thrown, red earthenware dish has a white slip applied over the entire interior and rim of the dish. The lead used to glaze the dish makes the white slip appear cream-colored. The center of the dish is decorated with two anemones on stems with three fern-like leaves at the base. This design is executed with green, red, and a darker shade of white than the white slip used for the background. There is a zig-zag design between the two flowers likely meant to represent lily of the valley. The edge is decorated with a red wavy line punctuated at every curve with red circles filled in with green.

The design, palette, and execution of the pattern distinguish this dish from those attributed to Gottfried Aust. The rim in particular helps date it to a later time than Aust’s tenure as it is similar to patterns found on British pearlware in the 1790s. Though Rudolph Christ experimented with tin glazing and other designs influenced by imported goods, he continued to produce Germanic slip decorated dishes. The floral design in particular may also connect to the religious symbolism often used by the Moravians. The symbol of an anemone as seen in the center of the dish often represents the blood of Christ (Ceramics in America 2009, p. 53-56).

Slipware in the Moravian tradition differs from the slipware from the St. Asaph’s district of Orange County (now Alamance County), North Carolina. The Moravians had a naturalistic vocabulary of motifs with spiritual significance and seem to have limited their slip decorating to dishes. In contrast, the St. Asaph’s potters used a wide variety of motifs– stylized crosses and plant forms, fylfots, imbricated triangles, and other geometric designs on both flat and hollowware forms.

This dish is attributed to Rudolph Christ. Rudolph Christ apprenticed under Gottfried Aust in Salem, North Carolina. He established his own pottery in Bethabara in 1786 and worked there until 1789. He succeeded Aust as master potter in Salem from 1789 to 1821.

Beckerdite, Luke and Brown, Johanna. “Eighteenth Century Earthenware from North Carolina: The Moravian Tradition Reconsidered,” CERAMICS IN AMERICA (2009): 2-67.

History:
Rudolph Christ apprenticed under Gottfried Aust in Salem. He established his own pottery in Bethabara in 1786 and worked there until 1789. He succeeded Aust as master potter in Salem from 1789 to 1821. (Ceramics in America 2010)