This fabulous Mettlach Pitcher Stein is graced with relief decoration so intricate and charming that it took my breath away when I first laid eyes on it. Overflowing with seasonal motifs and references, the closer you look, the more you see. Outstanding.
The blue band around the belly of this piece displays twelve figures in deep relief representing the months of the year with each performing a different seasonal activity, even Father Christmas makes an appearance under the applied handle. Above this blue band, the neck is divided into twelve panels, each displaying a verse in archaic German relating to these monthly seasonal activities. I had a German friend of mine look at these inscriptions, and while he could get a general sense of the meaning, he said that many of the words were no longer in current use. The relief decoration dividing the panels rises into flowing and flowering vines, and I would assume these are stylized grape vines since much of the seasonal activity pictured is related to the harvest and celebration. Below the blue band there are six sections, representing the flow of the seasons in the natural world.
The development of the seasonal themes is particularly charming; the natural world of creatures supports the activity and celebrations of man, with corresponding verses above, and crowned by the head of Bacchus or Dionysus on the pewter thumblift, perching above the figures below who can, with a bit of imagination, be seen as his retinue of Satyrs and Mainades.
Condition on this piece is fantastic, no chips, cracks, flakes, repairs or anything that I would describe as a problem, just a bit of normal wear to the pewter... as perfect as you can hope for. Mettlach's earliest steins were relief steins, with the technique being refined over the years. Measures a whopping 15" to the top of the finial. Illustrated in Gary Kirsner's 'The Mettlach Book - Second Edition' on page 44.
A wonderful addition to a collection of steins. But this piece is so special that it would show to advantage in many decorative tableaux. Treat yourself or gift someone special.