Wine jug

Late 14th - early 15th century

National Museum of Slovenia

National Museum of Slovenia

Wine jugs with a rounded body, pronounced base and clover-shaped mouth, made in the pottery technique of maiolica or faience, have special significance in Slovenia. The technique (maiolica) gave a wine jug with an undulating shape and richly painted decoration its name in Slovene: a 'majolika'. Songs are sung to it and it often features in pictures with folkloristic motifs. The 'majolika' is still widely used as part of the Slovene tradition in local inns and belongs to the stock repertoire of Slovene souvenirs. In German, the old term is 'krainischer Krug', or Carniolan jug. The maiolica technique, which spread in the late fourteenth century from Spain via the island of Majorca to Italy, is distinguished by its glittering white tin glaze, a good foundation for the painted decoration. The painting was done on a layer of dried glaze, and only then was the vessel fired in a kiln. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the choice of colours able to withstand high temperatures was limited to browns, greens and blues. This wine jug was found more than a century ago on the bed of the Ljubljanica river, close to Vrhnika. The water has leached away the glaze so the painted decoration can no longer be reconstructed with certainty. The colours were certainly brighter and the foundation whiter. The geometric patterns of rhombuses, parallel vertical lines, triangles and so on are typical of the Gothic period, in which the jug was made, while its shape already anticipates the classical outline of a 'majolika' as it evolved in the Baroque.

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  • Title: Wine jug
  • Date: Late 14th - early 15th century
  • Date Created: Late 14th - early 15th century
  • Location Created: Northern Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: h. 23 cm, mouth l. 9.5 cm, w. 9.2 cm
  • Provenance: Ljubljanica river, Slovenia
  • Type: Jug
  • Rights: Narodni muzej Slovenije
  • Medium: Archaic maiolica