The Rastal Collection of
A concise guide to the Rastal Collection, its epochs and its trends in
This content of this article is taken
from a pamphlet published by RASTAL
Rastal has created a communication
centre - the Rastal Gallery - in the West German town of
Höhr-Grenzhausen. In this gallery, the collection is presented in
large-scale display cases. For all forms of events, facilities are
available in the adjacent Rastal seminar centre. These rooms are to be
found within Rastal's administration building and their design is
orientated on its striking hexagonal architecture.
The basis of the Rastal collection, one
of the most important and largest of its kind worldwide, encompasses
several thousand examples of drinking vessels in ceramics, glass,
pewter, silver, wood and other materials. In time, it spans all epochs
from the time of the Roman Empire to the present day.
The "Rastal Collection of Historic
Drinking Vesels" was founded and expanded by the company's co-owner,
Werner Sahm-Rastal [now deceased]. Based on his intensive acivities as
a collector and his expert theoretical engagement with the subject, he
is today an expert who has lively contact to specialists throughout the
A selection of some 500 items is on
display, put together according to the criteria of originality,
techniques, value and characteristics of areas of origin. Above all,
the exhibition offers Rastal customers within the drinks industry
stimulus for the manufacture of drinking vessel replicas. The much
admired pieces are highly regarded as presents at company jubilees,
celebrations and on many other occasions. But the collection also
serves Rastal designers as a valuable mine of ideas for correct style
in new creations.
This article contains several German
terms which have significant historical or technical meanings, so they
are defined here.
Clay reliefs: either free-formed or from negative moulds attached to
the vessel by means of a thin clay slip before baking.
Unglazed ceramic mass after baking.
- Simple glazing of clay or slip in order to make ceramics imperious
and to achieve a regular brown colouring.
Working of the glass surface with rotating stone discs. The rounded
survace is divided into angled sections, producing patterns with
- Reduced-temperature-baked ceraic with porous body usually known as
peasant pottery, made impervious by lead glazing.
- Painting with glass flux coloured by metal oxides on clay, glass or
Engobe - A
coating on ceramic vessels consisting of a clay slip applied either by
dipping, sprinkling or my means of a brush. (This term is also used as
By means of small rotating copper discs of various dimensions down to
the size of a pinhead, matt ornamental designs or pictures are engraved
into the surface of the glass.
Fience - A
porous ceramic baked at temperatures up to around 1,200C degrees, made
impervious by opaque white tin glazing.
- Made in the areas of widely-forested, medium altitude mountains, has
a greenish or brownish tone produced by the iron contained in the sand
Cylindrical or slightly bellied drinking vessel, the base having almost
the same diameter as the rim.
Vessel designed for pouring liquids, with spout, nozzle or beak.
Decoration - Zig-zag patterns made with a wide, flat wooden stick in a
rocking, see-sawing motion, impressed in the unbaked ceramic body.
(cabbage stalk) - Medieval drinking vessel, its form and the appolied
burls having similarity to a cabbage stalk without leaves.
Layered or flashed
- is made by a glass blower, working at the furnace. One or more layers
of different coloured glass are added to an initial piece [gather]
before being blown as one.
Opal or milk glass
- White, non-transparent glass made by adding bone ash or stannic oxide
to the mass.
- A baking technique producing stoneware with a brown surface. The
feeding of oxygen combined with high temperature causes oxydization of
the iron content of the stoneware surface.
- Stemmed glassess with applied horizontal glass rings. During the 16th
and 17th centuries these glasses were specially popular for drinking
games. The rings act as markings for the drinker, who according to
calls had to drink a specified quantity of liquid determind by a level
set between two rings.
- Decoration technique with which the colour is appied with a small
sponge. Best known on Bunzlau stoneware, the technique is also used in
Narrow, conical jug similar to the Schnelle but smaller.
(dialect: bottle) The Pulle was manufacured during the 16th century,
predominantly in Siegburg. It embodies both jug and bottle forms. The
vessel has rounded body with a flat base and a short high-lipped
(scored)-decoration - This design is made by scoring with pointed
wooden sticks often combined with cobalt or manganese coloring.
(firing) - Baking tehnique producing grey or white stoneware.
After salting and at the highest temperature the furnace-oxygen feed is
- Glassy coating on stoneware. At the highest temperature, salt is
shovelled into the furnace, sodium oxide combines with the ceramic
silicates in the body.
High, conical jug.
Although characteristic of Siegburg, also manufactured in other Rhenish
stoneware centres (except Westerwald) Origin of the name is unknown.
Vitrification of ceramic during baking in the furnace. Stoneware
sinters at c. 1,250C degrees, the ceramic thus becoming impervious to
Clay slip with high flux content and cobalt or manganese used as
under-glazing colouring matter.
Substances containing metal oxides, applied to glass surfaces by means
of a brush in chiefly yellow and red tones. The stains are stoved at
temperature of 600-650C degrees and can afterwards be cut or engraved.
Silver compounds produce yellow, copper compounds red tones.
Ceramic products with hard fritted body, impervious to water when
unglazed, cannot be scored or cut with steel, acid-proof baked at 1200
to 1300C degrees.
The pot bakers region
with the town of Höhr-Grenzhausen at its centre, lies in the southwest
of the Westerwald. It is almost certain that the manufacture of ceramic
wares was carried out here even in pre and early historic times.
Stoneware of high standard craftsman-ship was produced toward the end
of the 16th century as the local craft blossomed under the influence of
to right: Beer tankard, early 20th C.;
Small jug, early 17th C.; Pilgrim bottle, dated 1665; Teapot, 2nd half
jug, dated 1594
(End 16th/Early 17th C.)
This time marks the beginning of a period of excellent
stoneware craftsmanship. Characteristics of style are the salt-glazing
of the ceramic with cobalt-blue painted decoration and precise vertical
patterning on the vessels. Friezes of human figures are the most common
|Narrow-necked jug, dtd. 1680
(Mid-17th/Early 18th C.)
Vessels were thrown on the wheel in one operation, resulting in forms
appropriate to the material. New forms are round, pot-bellied and
pear-shaped jugs. In addition to cobalt blue the new color manganese
violet emerges. Decoration consists of smaller applied elements often
scattered on the walls of the vessels.
tankard, lid dated 1737
Early 19th C.)
Ornamentation on the vessels is now in the more popular style. Applied
decoration becomes rarer, score and "Knibis" patterning come into the
forefront. Toward the end of the 18th century the quality of
boot, late 19th C.
(Mid-Late 19th C.)
Growing nationalism awakes interest in "national" styles. The tendency
is toward historical forms and ornaments, vessels are made as replicas
of former examples or are designed in the style of past epochs, for
example, the Renaissance. New techniques make exactness of execution
and higher quantities possible.
jug, c. 1910
(Early 20th C.)
The Art Nouveau style was the artistic reaction to overloaded
historicism. Influenced by Japanese art, the trend is toward
ornamentation based on forms of nature. Experiments with new types of
glazing are carried out. Stoneware manufacturers engage famous
designers, for example, Richard Riemerschmid, van de Velde, Behrens and
beer tankard, 2nd half 16th C.
peasant dance jug, dated 1589
bearded-man jug, early 17th C.
bearded-man jug, mid 16th C.
jug, mid-16th C.
jug, early 17th C.
bottle, early 17th C.
Potter craftsmanship blossomed in the 16th century. Characteristics are
the white to yellow ceramic body and the artistic applied decoration.
Preferred vessel forms were "Schnellen," bottles and jugs. In the late
16th century, members of the leading family of potters, the Knütgensw,
emigrated to the Westerwald.
Cologne is believed to be the first centre where salt glazing was
carried out on a regular basis. In the early 16th century the Cologne
pot bakers were trend-setters. Typical forms: "Pinten," "Schnellen" and
bellied tankards , with brown engobe and applied decoration. A bearded
face applied to the neck of many bellied vessels gave these their name
bearded-man jugs. Around the middle of the 16th century the pot bakers
were forced to leave the city.
Frechen products are often difficult to distinguish from those of
Cologne as many pot bakers who were forced to leave that city settled
here. Favoured vessel forms were very large bellied-jugs decorated with
bearded masks on the necks and with applied coats of arms.
Raeren lies close to Aachen but today belongs to Belgium. Stoneware
began to blossom in the second half of the 16th century, touched off by
examples from Cologne and Siegburg. Initially it was produced with a
brown surface. In the second half of the 16th century reduction-baking
was perfected, through which the body remained grey. A specialty of the
Raeren potters was the application of pictures created by outstanding
artistic potters At the end of the 16th century many Raeren potters
settled in the Westerwald region.
AND EASTERN GERMAN STONEWARE CENTRES
beer tankard, dated 1879
screw-top bottle, 2nd half 17th C.
pear-shaped jug, lid dated 1699
small milk jug, 2nd half 18th C.
beer tankard, c. 1630/40
from the Rhenish
excellent stoneware was produced very early on in locations in
Saxony/Thuringia, in Lusatia and Sillesia. In particular Waldenburg,
whose potters' guild foundation charter dated 1388 still exists,
deserves a similarly high placing to that which Siegburg in Western
German enjoyed. The development of stoneware in central and eastern
Germany took place largely independently. The quality of craftsmanship
is equal to that of the Rhenish masters.
|Pearl jug, dated 1711
This town lies south of Leipzig, production of stoneware began around
1625. Of the diverse stoneware products, the cylindrical jugs are of
particular interest, their decoration giving them the name
"pearl-tankards." The ornamentation, often with folk art motifs, is
made up of small applied pearl-like shapes formed from a clay mixture
which burns out white.
|Pear-shaped jug, c. 1680
Annaberg, situated south of Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz) is better known
as a mining town. Manufacture of the blackish brown engobed ware began
in the early 17th century. As many of these tankards and jugs were
colourfully enamelled, they are often mistaken for Creussen stoneware.
Typical are applied friezed of C-arches and finials which encircle the
neck or base zone, as well as palmette application on the pear-shaped
|Spouted jug, 2nd half
Bürgel and Zeitz are two Thuringian pottery centres whose products are
difficult to distinguish from each other. Spouted jugs are common.
Colouring of the stoneware cn be compared to that of the Westerwald
products. The blue tone was however achieved by cobalt smalt being
thrown onto the ware during baking, whereby the characteristic
runnning-colour effect arose.
jug, c. 1660/70
As far as is known, stoneware was manufactured only during the 17th
century in this Erzgebirge city. In the first half of the century
mainly blackish brown engobed pieces were produced, whereas grey
stoneware with fine network patterns painted with enamel colours and
gilded, became characteristic for Freiberg in the second half.
jug (tankard), 17th C.
Waldenburg is the oldest stoneware pottery centre in central Germany. A
rich variety of forms developed. Characteristic in the 16th/17th
centuries was the beehive jug decorated by means of roller dies and
with excellently executed applied religious motifs or coats of arms. In
the 17th century, the brown colour of the stonware was producd by
oxydizing baking of the salt-glazed ceramic body.
jug, lid dated 1705
In this lower Silesian town, now a part of Poland, pottery
craftsmanship has a centuries-old tradition. As the clay did not frit
at high temperatures the result was a brown glazing occasionally tinged
green or blue. Typical were melon and pear-shaped jugs, the latter
often with white applied decoration. In the 2nd half of the 19th
centuiry the "peacock-eye" decor emerged, which is still popular today
as a decoration on Bunzlau ceramics.
jug, c. 1660/70
In the home town of Prince Pückler in Upper Lusatia on the Neisse,
pottery workshops were established in very early times. Predominating
vessel forms are egg or pear-shaped jugs, spouted jugs and screw-top
bottles. There was an extremely rich range of decoration. Almost all
vessels are characterised by slanting or vertical goove patterns on
their lower halves.
This pottery centre has been renowned since the early 17th century. Its
stoneware rodeucts always have a brown surface rought about by baking
with pine-wood and are glazed with a black salt. Decoration with
applied reliefs was common right from the start. These splendid
vessels, painted by former glass stainers in bright enamel colours,
were much sought after. The enamel-painted tankards with applied
apostle figures or planetary allegories are among the splendours of
At right: -
Apostle tankard, lid dated 1662
|Ringed jug, lid dated
in Hesse, close to the city of Marburg, stoneware has been produced
since the 15th century. Characteristic is the reddish to violet brown
half-matt surface finish of the vessels, achieved by means of a
ferriferous engobe. A typical form is the high-shouldered pear-shaped
jug which is sparsely decorated with patterns made by roller dies and
sometimes with rings attached by loops.
|Beer tankard, lid dated
is proof that stoneware manufacture has taken place in this Lower
Saxony location close to Alfeld, since the 15th century. In the main,
cylindrical jugs with two areas of grooves were produced, some were
engobed entirely brown or had yellow patterning on their upper
surfaces. In the middle zone, a few have narrow, encircling applied
|Beer tankard, 1902
In the "faiencery" founded by Jean-Francois Boch in 1809
stoneware has been produced since 1843. The most important development
in decor was chromo-lithography, a colour-printing process introduced
in 1859. Blackened grooves, optically emphasizing the drawing, separate
evenly coloured areas. Scenes with rich contents, landscapes, etc.
could be decoratively achieved. This technique contributed greatly to
the high popularity of the Mettlach tankards.
|Beer tankard, early
Loorraine town of Sarreguemines has a rich tradition in ceramics. A
specialty are the stoneware vessels from around 1900, whose grey
ceramic is stained blue at the edges. Beer tankards often beare scenes
in relief on the body as well as handles in animal forms. As well the
characteristic blue tone they are someimes colour painted or gilded.
|Beer jug, 1st half 19th
of the Doulton ceramic workshops in London since 1820 is beige bodied
stoneware, with half the surface engobed dark brown. The walls of the
vessels are decorated with small applied reliefs.
PORCELAIN AND FAIENCE
tankard, Hannoversch- Münden, early 19th C.
tankard, Dresden, late 19th C.
tankard, Plaue, late 19th C.
wine jug, lower Austria, 18th C.
2nd half 18th C.
The European method of
manufacturing hard-glazed porcelain was created
by Johann Friedrich Böttger and Walter Ehrenfriedvon Tschirnhaus in
Meissen in 1708/9. Porcelain is a ceramic produced from kaolin (china
clay) and feldspar with other additives. The mass frits whille baking
and becomes absolutely impermeable. In the 18th century the whiteness
of porcelain was considered a criterion for pureness and excellence.
This greatly increased the brilliance of its coloured painted
decoration. In the 19th century the white area was predominately used
as a background for full decoration or complete colour glazing.
mid 18th C.
Faience is earthenware with a
porous unglazed body coated with an
impermeable opaque stannic oxide glaze. The earliest Faience pieces
were made in Persia around 500 B.C. The manufacturing technique
accompanied the Islamic culture to Moorish Spain. Then after moving via
Majorca to Italy and in the 16th century into Northern Europe, it was
given the name Faience, after the Italian town of Faenza. In Germany,
more than 80 Faience factories were founded in the 17th and 18th
centuries, the earliest in Frankfurt and Hanau.
IVORY AND PEWTER
Tankard, Berlin, 1888
Silver has been regarded as a precious metal since time immemorial. It
becomes hard enough to be worked when alloyed with a non-precious
metal. In cold working the desired form in silver plate is achieved by
hammering; in hot working by casting. Decoration techniques are
chasing, punching ans surface embossing. Silver pieces were often
gilded. A form o decoration found principally in Northern Germany was
the application of coins to the body of the vessel.
German, 19th C.
The tusk of the elephant is one of man's oldest craft materials. Ivory
is relatively easy to work, it has the qualities both of hardness and
elasticity. It can be sawn, cut, carved and turned. The surfaces of
ivory objects receive their silky sheen by being polished with wood ash
and nut oil. Ivory vessels were often decorated with silver fittings.
Tin, the main component of pewter, was highly valued as early as
pre-historic times. Alloyed with copper, it gave an entire Epoch it
name: The Bronze Age. 100% pure tin is not suitable for working, as it
is too brittle. According to the contents of the alloy, one speaks of
refined pewter (alloyed with brass, copper and busmuth), assayed pewter
(tin to lead c. 10:1) and lower grade pewter (tin to lead less than
6:1) Pewter is almost exclusively produced by casting.
goblet, probably southern
Germany, c. 1600
|Serpentine tankard, Saxony, 17th C.
|Wooden tankard, Scandinavia, 18th C.
in the middle ages, wooden drinking vessels in the form of coopered,
turned and carved beakers and jugs were highly popular. Up to recent
times, artistically attractive wooden drinking vessels were still made
in widely forested regions like Scandinavia. Serpentine stone used to
be quarried in West Saxony. This material could be turned and carved.
It was highly regarded, in prticular in the 18th century—probably
because of its similarity to marble.
Vessels fashioned from vegetal materials, for example coconut shells,
were in great demand as showpieces and ornaments for noble tables, the
nut being finely decorated with silver fittings but the shell often
being left in its natural state.
The majority of the
tankards date from the turn of the century. On release from the
Imperial German Army, almost every soldier ordered a tankard—usually
porcelain—as a memento of his service days. These tankards are
decorated with colourfully painted manoeuvre scenes, portraits, or
writing. The vessels are crowned with richly formed pewter lids, often
with a decoration referring to the unit in which the soldier had
served. As well as tankards there were also reservist pipes, cups and
Right: Tankard -
Left to right:
Flask, probably Syria, 2/3 C. A.D.
"Krautstrunk" Germany, 15th C.
Lidded goblet, Warmbrunn, c. 1750/60.
Opal glass tankard, probably Austria, c. 1800
The Romans learned the art of glass
making in the Near East. After the
invention of the glassmakers' blowpipe in the 1st century B.C.,
glassware manufacture flourished during the time of the Roman Empire.
Apart from Syria, Roman Cologne was an important glass manufacturing
The cloudiness and irridescent effects in ancient glasses are due to
chemical changes which have occurred during the long time the glass has
Forest glass 16/17th C.
Works producing large quantities of
glassware became common again only in the late middle ages. Apart from
the various types of sand used as raw material, the forest glass works
were primarily dependent on wood for the production of potash and as
fuel. When the forest surrounding the site had been used up, the works
were removed to another location. One of the most interesting
developments in this pierod was the "Krautstrunk" (cabbage stalk), the
forerunner of the so-called "Roman" (hock glass), today's most common
Somewhat simplified, the Baroque period
(17/18th C.) can be described as the period of engraved glass. Bohemia
produced a pure thick-walled glass with a hardness particularly
suitable for engraving. Initially Nuremberg and Bohemia were leaders in
this technique, but in the 18th century Silesia in particular set the
Early German glasses—from the first
half of the 16th century—bear motifs from the picturesque world of folk
art. In bright enamel colours, scenes of family-life, love and erotica
are depicted as well as subjects from the animal and plant world.
Greetings and wishes accompanied by appropriate symbols are also to be
Left to right:
Beaker, northern Bohemia, c. 1840/50
Spirits goblet, north Germany, dated 1782
Bridal cup, Petersdorf, c. 1890
Wine glass, Cologne-Ehrenfeld, early 20th C.
In the first half of the 19th century
the craft of glassmaking reached an absolute high point. This was above
all due to the dedications of the Bohemian glass works and artists.
Biedermeier cut-glasses are still regarded as admirable examples of the
artistic art of glass cutting. The cut and form of the glass influence
each other. But the standard of engraving and glass painting was also
high. Thanks to the experimental enthusiasm of the numerous Bohemian
glassworks, a great variety of coloured glasses was also produced.
Since then there has never been such a rich and various range of
colours in glassworks.
New glass forms
Toward the end of the 18th century the small, mostly weighty and
somewhat crudely formed spirits glass came into use. Its form derives
from the goblet, having usually a conical cup on a massive stem and
heavy base plate. Small goblets continued to be used for spirits and
In the 2nd half of the 19th century,
designers - also those of glassware - returned to the styles of past
epochs. This was a time of advancing industrialization, oriented
principally toward mass production, which hindered development of a
specific independent style. Designers fell back on classical examples
in an attempt to arrive at a contemporary style. In this way, in
addition to pure reproductions, a wealth of glassware of high artistic
craftsmanshp was created which is the equal of that of earlier epochs.
Art Nouveau glass
Around 1900, new, fresh and unique
forms of expression were sought in the applied arts. It was no longer
sufficient simply to refer to historic forms. Inspired by the colours
and wealth of Asian forms, glass vessels with strikingly rich
decoration and a wide variety of colours were produced. Exemplary are
the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Emile Gallé. But also the more
practical, everyday drinking vessels from glassworks of the Bavarian
forests or the Rhineland with their pleasing forms and lightness are
still attractive today.