By some form of serendipity, I bought all of the three Schierholz steins pictured in these photos within about eight weeks. So, who needs three identical Happy Munich Child steins anyway? Not me, but the prices were right, especially for the stein in the middle, the one that has just a little something extra, in the form of a barrel tap .
To my knowledge, this is the only example of this stein that includes a tap. Because it's made of porcelain and has identical coloring to the bung on the barrel, I'm guessing that it was made at the factory.
Perhaps as a trial piece, or more likely as a special order.
Even without the tap, these steins are anything but identical. Because they were hand painted, you can see many slight differences between them, especially in the coloring and in the quality of painting.
Interestingly enough, the stein with the tap also has the best painting, which may indicate that it was indeed a special order.
All three of these steins share what initially appears to be a defect on the underside of their lids. There is a very small spot that is unglazed, almost dead center. David Harr gave me the answer as to why the spot is there. The entire lid - base, barrel and Maid - had to be fired together, and Schierholz may have experienced some sagging problems, so at some point they included a ceramic "prop" under the lids in the kiln to help them fire perfectly. Some steins have this unglazed spot, while others have completely glazed underside lids without spots.
When I bought the first stein, I was concerned about this "defect,"
but when it also appeared on the others, I knew it was a factory thing, and just needed to find out what it was all about. My Unhappy Munich Child stein also has this same spot, even though she is smaller than her alter ego.
The Gooseman of Nuremberg
by Kurt Sommerich, SCI Master Steinologist
The flesh and blood "Goose-Man" came from the so-called Garlic Country (Knoblauchland) in the immediate vicinity of Nuremberg. It can easily be guessed what the farmers grew there.
He was reputed to be a drunkard. After he sold his geese, he spent his money on wine and returned home empty-handed, albeit full in other respects. No doubt, this droll peasant was a unique specimen, a well-known "character" of his day.
There is a bit of folklore to the effect that on one of his trips to the Goose-market this peasant was so thirsty that he had to quench his urge by drinking water from the beaks of his geese. Hence, to this day Nurembergers refer to water as Goose-Wine (Gänsewein). The writer of this article has a theory that this is another case of setting the sun to match the watch: It is more likely that this expression originated after the fountain was completed. When the good old Nuremberg watched the two geese spouting merrily away, the probably had an inspiration and invented the Gänsewein reference.
All good things are copied. This also applies to the "Little Goose-Man Fountain". One copy stands in Bad Böll in Wuertemberg, and another in the courtyard of Brannenberg on the Inn. Still other replicas are located Goethe's wish - 27 years after his death.
The Goose Man of Nürnberg
by Rich Cress
In the early 1500’s there was a Goose Market (Gänsemarkt) in Nürnberg. To commemorate the market and the people who raised geese, Albrecht Dürer drew sketches of a fountain featuring the little Goose Man. Hans Peisser carved a wooden statue from Dürer’s sketches, and Pankraz Labenwolf cast the bronze statue in about 1550 – the Gänsemänchen Fountain. The fountain was placed in the goose market, which later became the fruit market. When WWII broke out, the Goose Man was moved to the courtyard at City Hall, where it remains today.
"He was content to be a precious corner-stone in the edifice of German Art, the future grandeur of which he could only foresee."
Richard Ford Heath
Every once in a while I check out different stein auction locations looking for those JW Remy steins that are still hiding from me. A couple months ago I was poking around on line, and I ran across these three tiny steins. I was intrigued so I spent more time trying to determine what they were. They looked old. None had lids and I couldn’t tell if they had ever had lids. I closely studied the amazing detail on each of them. In fact, I decided they were older rather than newer: modern copies would likely not have such great detail. It was also interesting to note that the listing stated “From the personal collection of Jack Lowenstein.” Well, that did it! I contacted the site and asked what they could do for two items. We came to an agreement on the price. Several days later UPS knocked at my front door.
Imagine my elation when I unwrapped these little gems and saw how impressive they really were. They were tiny, the Bartmankrug is only 2” tall and the other two about 1 ½”. The detail was phenomenal ( see the close-ups below ) and they looked old — I mean, really old! They were unglazed but I felt that they had been fired at a pretty high temperature: they were “rugged”, not like “soft” pottery. They were not hollow like a container would be so they obviously were not intended to contain liquids. There were no marks anywhere. Upon studying them some more, I realized that they were not molded, but hand-thrown! How did the potter get such clear detail in the design? How did he make it? Did he have a tiny potter’s wheel? He must have had special tools just to make them. But what was their purpose???? Salesman’s samples? Models for new designs? What?
What I believe is the answer to the riddle came a few weeks later. I took them to someone I hoped could give me some insight into their purpose and history. I met up with Gerd Kessler in Colonial Williamsburg where he had been invited by the Foundation as a guest lecturer on Westerwald Stoneware at a symposium on Early American pottery. As I unwrapped them, you could see his eyes light up. He agreed that they were undoubtedly quite old (for him, meaning before 1900) and was pretty sure what they were: they were toys, possibly from the early 1800s! He also was impressed with the attention to detail in such tiny toys.
When I questioned him about how he recognized them as toys, he responded that his Great Uncle in Hoehr-Grenzhausen had made stoneware toys and sold them in the late 1800s and early 1900s and these were quite similar.
You run across the most interesting, intriguing items sometimes.
Always check out http://www.steincollectors/ .org for all your st
The Schuhplattler certainly belongs to the most characteristic of all Bavarian forms of expression. The word "Schuhplattler" has its origins in the fact that the dancer strikes the soles of his shoes ('Schuhe') with his hands held flat ('platt'). The 'inventors' were simple folk: farmers, hunters, woodsmen. It's difficult to determine the exact origin and history of the dance.
"Ruodlieb", a knight's poem written by a monk at Tegernsee monastery (not far south of Munich) in the year 1050, describes a village dance featuring "leaps and hand gestures" that could actually denote an early form of the Schuhplattler.
When the empress of Russia spent time in 1838 at a spa in nearby Wildbad Kreuth, the locals honored her with the performance of a dance that very closely resembled the Schuhplattler.
During the dance, the boy was allowed to move however he liked to the melody of a 'Laendler' folk tune, i.e. he would make figures, leap, stomp and slap while his girl rotated in time with the music and did not join him until the waltz began. His unregimented, free 'plattling' was known as "Bavarian dancing".
From about the mid-1800s onward, the Schuhplattler dance moves became increasingly standardized and "group plattln" came into its own. On July 15, 1858, a Schuhplattler dance was performed in Upper Bavaria on the occasion of King Max II's trip through the bavarian mountains.
There are about 150 different Schuhplattler dances, and regional differences are evident throughout the areas in which the Schuhplattler is part of the local culture: the Koenigssee in the east to Lake Constance in the west, from the Danube River in the north to the border of Tyrolia in the south. Wherever the dance is performed, it is irrevocably linked with Bavarian tradition and genuine zest for life.
In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge Beltane fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called "Easter fires".
This nice etched pottery stein celebrates the Bavarian dance Schuhplatter with perhaps Brocken mountain in the background.
In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from April 30 to May 1, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Blocksberg and await the arrival of Spring.
It is believed that stomping dances first arose in pre-Christian times-- the 700"s as a way to keep the witches and evil spirits away.
An old tankard--it is a 1-liter, tapered, with variegated colors of mahogany and maple vertical wood sections. the lid is of maple with hand carved letters "K.K." for "Konig Karl" (perhaps King Charles I, king of Wurttemburg)
Es war ein König in Thule,
There was a king in Thule,
Wait a minute, I thought all Mettlach steins are German? Well, yes they are. But in this case Mettlach made two different versions of this stein, one for the USA and France, and one for Germany.
Thanks to Rich Cress--and it is a beauty!
This is a 1/4-liter porcelain stein, including a porcelain insert lid. Made in Germany, but done in the Limoges style of porcelain mugs (you've seen those at antique shows: always lidless, frequently marked JP with an L under the JP, and with a gold lid).