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Friday, November 20, 2015

The Bartman Jug

This Bartman jug was found at Jamestown, Virginia
The Museum of London has a collection of stoneware vessels from Frechen, Germany, dating from the 16th century.  The Bartman jug was stamped with the face of a bearded man, thought to represent a 'Wild man' found in popular European myths of the period. It dates from 1475 to 1714. The excavation of the Bartman jug at Jamestown dates to ca 1610 and is traced back to Italy.  It was discovered within the palisaded walls of James Fort. It has three medallions around its belly. The medallions consist of a a coat-of-arms depicting a crowned shield that has been divided into four quarters. The first and third quarters each exhibit a single lion passant, which means that he is walking with his right paw raised. The second and fourth quarters each have two lions passant. In the first quarter, which is the upper left-hand corner of the shield, there is a heraldic device known as a fess with a label on chief. This is the band across the upper third of the escutcheon that is carrying three stylized fleur-de-lis. It is this label that identifies the medallion as Italian and, more specifically, as representing a member of the Tuscan Anjou party of Guelfs who from medieval times were staunch supporters of the Pope.

Fitzhugh, William, a wealthy Virginia planter, upon one occasion instructed his English merchant to send him five dozen gallon stone jugs, a new feather-bed with curtains and valance, an old feather-bed, two quilts, a side-saddle, a large silver salt-cellar, and a pair of woman's gallooned shoes.  Source: Letters of William Fitzhugh, May 22, 1683, Virginia State Archives.

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