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Ring Bottle

Christ, Rudolph __Workshop of
Place Made:
Salem North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
__5 5/8″ __ __4 1/2″ __1 3/4″
Accession Number:
The 1796 Pottery inventory listed 224 bottles at five different prices (presumably based on type and/ or size). This green lead-glazed red earthenware bottle is an unusual form that is challenging to produce. The bottle was thrown on the wheel in a hollow donut shape, then trimmed. The neck and foot were thrown separately and applied after trimming. (See Ceramics in America 2009: 190-198 for a detailed description of the manufacture of this type of bottle ). Incised in front and back are two concentric bands made up of two lines following the shape of the body. Only one other intact example of this ring shaped bottle has been found.

This form may have been introduced to Salem potters in 1793 when a German potter, Carl Eisenberg, visited the Salem pottery and taught Rudolph Christ the technique of tin-glazing (also known as faience). In 1793 a report made in Salem, North Carolina, noted that “a new kiln has been built for ‘faience’ [at the Salem pottery].” Though only evident through archaeological materials, the ring-shaped form was used for tin-glazed (faience) celadon-colored bottles shaped as this green lead-glazed bottle. Eisenberg’s recipe book, hand-written in German, includes recipes for tin glazes among other slips and glazes. Robert Hunter and Michelle Erickson in their 2009 Ceramics in America article assert that Eisenberg not only introduced this unique glazing technique to the Salem pottery production, but may also have introduced the form (See Ceramics in America 2009: 190-198).

The production of this piece made in Salem, North Carolina, dates to the time period in which Rudolph Christ was operating the pottery shop in Salem. 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. (Ceramics in America 2009)

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

Credit Line:
Anne P. & Thomas A. Gray Moravian Decorative Arts