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Dish

Artist/Maker:
Aust, Gottfried __Workshop of
Place Made:
Salem North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1775-1785
Medium:
earthenware –lead-glazed
Dimensions:
DIA: 13 3/4″
Accession Number:
2073.17
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 yellow. Decorations of anemones on either side of a stalk of lily of the valley, together with green fern-like foliage are executed in the center of the dish in green, red, and dark manganese slip. The edge of the dish, or marly, has three bands of red slip separated by two zig-zag bands of dark manganese slip.

Johanna Brown and Luke Beckerdite in their 2009 Ceramics in America article compared the floral design in the center of the dish to the many accurate botanical drawings circulated in the second half of the eighteenth-century. The specific flowers depicted–anemones and lilies of the valley–symbolize the blood of Christ (anemones) and the relationship between believers and Christ (lily of the valley as symbolized in the Song of Solomon).
Thus, the motifs on the dish reflect the Moravians’ Christocentric beliefs.

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 Gottfried Aust, likely made during his tenure in Salem, North Carolina. Master potter Gottfried Aust arrived in Bethabara, North Carolina in 1755 and immediately sought local stores of clay and flint for use in his pottery. By the spring of 1756 he had conducted firing experiments on these materials, and in August he built a larger kiln in which he fired earthenware. Aust stayed in Bethabara until 1771, when he moved to the Moravians’ newly built town of Salem and served as master of the pottery there until his death in 1788.

Art in Clay Gallery Guide.

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

History:
LABEL NOTES: Master potter Gottfried Aust arrived in Bethabara in 1755 and immediately sought local stores of clay and flint for use in his potworks. By the spring if 1756 he had conducted firing experiments on these materials, and in August he built a larger kiln in which he fired earthenware. Aust stayed in Bethabara until 1771, where upon he moved to the Moravians’ newly built town of Salem and served as master if the pottery there until his death in 1788. (Ceramics in America 2010, p. 169)
Credit Line:
Old Salem Museums & Gardens