Stein of the Month: January 2008

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~ Altassyrisch (Old Assyrian) ~
by John McGregor, SCI Master Steinologist

This poem has been commemorated on steins manufactured by at least three factories. Two different series were produced by Mettlach, the first in an Assyrian style and later in a comedic Egyptian style. Hauber & Reuther designed a set which they produced in both blue & gray saltglaze and porcelain. Hauber & Reuther choose to use contemporary illustrations with a university student as the primary subject. It appears that Merkelbach and Wick produced at least one stein on the subject in blue & gray saltglaze. It is model number 488 and the only one listed in their catalog, so I must assume there were no others depicting the rest of the poem. Their's is done in a comedic style that reflects both Assyrian and Egyptian styles.

The Merkelbach & Wick piece depicts two verses from the poem. Figure 1, shows the waiters presenting the bill to the customer and figure 2, shows the deadbeat thrown out on his ear. The relevant verses are shown.
Figure 1.

“Im Schwarzen Walfisch zu Askalon
Da bracht' der Kellner Schar
In Keilschrift auf sechs Ziegelstein
Dem Gast die Rechnung dar.”

In the Black Whale at Ascalon
A group of waiters brought
On six tiles written in cuneiform.
The bill up to the guest.
Figure 2.

“Im Schwarzen Walfisch zu Askalon
Da schlug die Uhr halb vier
Da warf der Hausknecht aus Nubierland
Den Fremden vor die Tür.”

In the Black Whale at Ascalon
The clock struck half past three
When the Nubian porter threw
The stranger out the door.

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