Can You Identify The Heraldic Symbol On The Front Of This Stein?

This topic contains 11 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  JOHN HARRELL 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #51839 Reply

    smazzone
    Participant

    I have the Muskauer Birnkrug shown in the accompanying photograph. On the front is what appears to me to be a heraldic symbol of some sort. Can anyone tell me what it represents? Thank you.
    Muskauer Birnkrug

  • #51840 Reply

    smazzone
    Participant

    Trying again to add image.
    Muskauer Birnkrug

  • #51862 Reply

    George

    Nice Birnkrug. Anyway, I would try a heraldic website and/or Facebook page. Ensure you give an approximate age of the vessel to include additional geographical information. Where did Muskauer reside back then…. What state was it in, if any….

    Good luck,
    George

  • #51905 Reply

    smazzone
    Participant

    Thanks for your input, George. The lid is dated “M.E.” “1744”, a dating that seems about right. I believe it to be an authentic mid-18th century Muskauer Birnkruk. Muskau was in the Lusatian region of Germany, adjacent to Poland. I have been trying all sorts of Google searches using various search terms that might yield clues. I’ve also been searching coats of arms for Muskau and nearby (and some not so nearby) cities. No joy. Any idea what the crossed something-or-others are? They’re definitely not swords.

  • #51959 Reply

    George

    I have no idea what the “crossed something-or-others” are. Have fun on your journey! You’ll learn a lot along the way.

  • #52361 Reply

    smazzone
    Participant

    My research has led me to the conclusion that the “crossed something-or-others” are in fact impressionistic representations of the crossed swords of the coat of arms of the Imperial Arch Marshal of the Electoral College that chose the Holy Roman Emperors from the 13th to the 19th centuries, a position that was held by the Elector of Saxony. However, although my research uncovered a number of coats of arms comprising a field of vertically oriented square lozenges similar to those on my stein, I have been unable to find anything that would tie any of them to any Elector of Saxony, nor have I been successful in finding an overall match for my stein’s coat of arms.

    • #52362 Reply

      Ron

      smazzone,

      I think I will try answering someone that actually comes back to see the answers to his questions. However, I really don’t have the answer for you, just some hints. This site may help you understand the terminology when trying to do an online search, http://www.internationalheraldry.com/. I think the left side of your crest shows crossed sabers rather than swords. The right side is a diamond pattern. A very simple crest, so probably a minor family. I have a Steinzeug book that shows the crest of Herzog zu Sachsen. It is simple with crossed swords on the left and a line pattern with an arch on the right.

      Good luck in your search.

  • #52455 Reply

    smazzone
    Participant

    Thanks for your input, Ron. The website to which you provided a link is one of countless others I’ve already researched, dealing with heraldry, German families and coats of arms in general, and the Saxon electors in particular. By the way, you’ll see on that site, as well as others that discuss heraldry, that the general heraldry term for “diamonds” is “lozenge”, the term I used in my last post. Specifically, it says: “The lozenge is a rhombus generally resembling the diamonds of playing-cards. A more acute lozenge is called a fusil.” Also, if you look in the Muskau section of the Beer Stein Library’s Early Stoneware Stein Catalog, you’ll see a stein with the Elector of Saxony coat of arms. If you’ll look at the left hand portion of the coat of arms, you’ll see the crossed swords are portrayed very much like the “crossed thingies” on my stein’s coat of arms; this is what convinced me that they were indeed crossed swords (and not, by the way, sabers, although you can be forgiven for thinking that since my “crossed thingies” do indeed show a curve). Finally, it sounds like the coat of arms you describe for Herzog zu Sachsen is the Electorate of Saxony coat of arms, which is a marshalled shield per pale (i.e., divided in half vertically) with the crossed swords on the left and a green crancelin over a gold and black striped field on the right, this right hand portion being the general coat of arms for Saxony. I do have a rather fanciful conjecture as to what the field of “diamonds” or “lozenges” might be associated with. I won’t go into detail here as I’m still researching it, but the clue is “jester.”

    • #52464 Reply

      Ron

      smazzone,

      A blade of a saberis also heaviers and the saber has a hand guard. That appears to apply to the image on yuur stein as best I can tell.

  • #52599 Reply

    John Harrell

    I suspect that the crosses swords are not a heraldic device as there is nothing else heraldic, shield, helmet or plumes, etc. in the scene. I say “swords” as the slight bend in the blades seem to be more to fit them in the scene. The swords are of the period with the date on the stein.
    Your best bet id to contact Alte Germanien stein club in Germany and ask them to put you on to someone who might be able to help. You can contact them in English.

  • #52604 Reply

    smazzone
    Participant

    Thanks, John, excellent advice. I have just sent an email to the club’s contact. But I have to totally disagree with you on there being nothing heraldic about the image. I believe the escutcheon is not in the shape of a traditional shield only because the potter chose to have its shape conform to the melon shape of the birnkrug. The image itself is clearly a combined, or marshalled in heraldic terminology, coat of arms. Just as the Electors of Saxony coat of arms is the combination of the crossed swords of the Arch Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire Electoral College coat of arms and the Saxony coat of arms. A good example of this on a Muskauer stein (although not a birnkrug) is in the Beer Stein Library’s Muskau section of their Early Stoneware Stein Catalog. And there is stylized crowning on the top of my stein’s escutcheon.

  • #52632 Reply

    JOHN HARRELL
    Participant

    You may be right about the the swords and crown being heraldic but the question is what do they represent?
    I think you can discount that it was made for some member of nobility or royalty. If that were the case I would think the metal would be silver or gilt. The date is important but what it signifies is unknown. The initials are probably of the owner who was not of the nobility or royalty.
    Some considerations:
    The crown is illustrated on P. 36 of “Heraldry of the World ” by von Volborth. There are two line drawings of crowns with spikes like the one on the stein. Both are described as “Antique or Eastern” crowns with no further information.
    The image could represent a battle flag from the middle ages or a shield of the same period.
    From the photo of the stein and based on the somewhat indistinct hilts the crossed swords are more in line with 1744 than the middle ages.
    Possibly the images represent a cutlery guild that the owner was admitted to in 1744. Perhaps the images represent one of the many such guilds in Europe.
    Anyway much the fun in collecting is researching a stein which often leads to a favorable finding and sometimes remains unsolved.

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