New research into Anabaptist faience work in Moravia
Source document: . Středověké a novověké zdroje tradiční kultury : sborník příspěvků ze semináře konaného 30. listopadu 2005 v Ústavu evropské etnologie. Editor: Křížová, Alena. Vyd. 1. Brno: Ústav evropské etnologie Masarykovy univerzity, 2006, pp. -139
Anabaptist faience work (termed incorrectly "Moravian Anabaptist faience") was produced on the territory of Moravia from the 1590s until 1622, when its producers were banished from the territory for religious reasons. Up to the present, fifteen sites - the existence of which have been proven or are the subject of well-founded supposition - have been registered, for twelve of which the production of faience work has been verified by archaeological research. Earlier research in this area was performed by cera-micist and amateur scholar Herman Landsfeld (1899-1984], best known for his discovery (1942) of a kiln complete with production waste in Ostrozka Nova Ves and for his survey of ceramics production in Stara Bfeclav (1968-70). The author of this paper has had for many years an interest in archaeological research on sites where Anabaptist faience work was produced. His earlier work includes a survey of the production centre of Strachotin (1982-4), the results of which were presented in the monograph The Anabaptist Faience Work of Strachotin (2001). Further systematic research was performed between 2001 and 2003 within the framework of the "Early Anabaptist Faience Work in Moravia" project, which is to be continued in a new project for 2006-8 entitled "The Origins and Scale of Anabaptist Faience Work in Moravia". The first research period saw the investigation of the production sites of Pouzdřany, Trstěnice, Tavíkovice, Šakvice, Podivín, Kobylí, Žadovice and Vacenovice. Most materials and new information were gleaned from the findings at Pouzdf any, Tavikovice and Vacenovice, while the other sites have so far afforded only specimens of lesser information value. The richest and most numerous findings were made at the Vacenovice site in 2002-5, and these have enabled the formulation of a body of new knowledge and the determining of the origins of many specimens of Anabaptist faience work which live on in collections at home and abroad. In spite of notable efforts in this direction, it has not yet proven possible to identify the workshop in which were produced the two oldest (dated at 1593) monuments to Anabaptist faience work we have so far. The most distant dates to have been confirmed are 1596, 1597 and 1598, after which references grow proportional to developments in the production of this article which is so attractive and fashionable for contemporary art. In this regard the oft-discussed question arises of where the Anabaptists drew the inspiration for the emergence and establishing of faience production in their potters' workshops. The majority of researchers makes a direct link between this process and what was happening at the time in Italy, often notwithstanding factors of geography and history and how communication might have been established and maintained. If, however, we take into account that the first Anabaptist faience work can be dated to a time at which most of the leading countries of Europe were already producing such work and that in this process a distinct Anabaptist environment was accepted and adopted last of all, we are justified in contemplating its inspiration in countries which - in terms of territory and culture - were far closer to Moravia than far-away Italy. For this reason it is more appropriate to speak only of the mediation of Italian influences, seeking evidence of a direct impact on the emergence of Anabaptist faience work in the countries of western Europe.
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