Stein of the Month: January 2004

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~ January - Janus - Two Faces! ~
by Ron Gray

January is named after the Roman god of gates and doors, Janus. Representing the beginning and ending, he was naturally depicted with a double-face head. This month’s stein is appropriate for the month of January. While at first glance it appears to be an ordinary pressed glass stein, the ceramic insert lids usually found in these steins is what makes them collectible. The ceramic insert on this lid contains double heads, although drawn top and bottom rather than back to back as Janus is always shown. When viewed from the drinking position (i.e., opening the lid) you see a young couple with the word Brautstand, referring to the bridal or courting period. When viewed from the front, such as that seen when these types of steins are displayed upside down so the lid hangs over the shelf, an older couple can be seen with the word Ehestand, referring to the state of matrimony. Today we might label it "the night before" and "the morning after." (See closeups of the lid below.)

There are a variety of ceramic inserts (photographs, portraits, scenes, coats-of-arms, erotic, hidden designs, etc.) that can be found on these steins. They are an inexpensive way to start a stein collection and really display nice upside down on a high shelf near the ceiling. There is a book available, in German only, that shows a variety of lids by category. The book is Bierkrug-Deckel: Kleinkunst auf Porzellan-Medaillons by Ottmar Odty Uhlig published by Rosenheimer in 1980. You would probably have better luck finding it in a German used book site.

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