Moravian Pottery | Collecting Carolina | North Carolina Weekend | UNC-TV


>>>THIS MONTH IN OUR
“COLLECTING CAROLINA” SEGMENT, WE TAKE YOU UP THE YADKIN RIVER
BASIN TO OLD SALEM TO SPOTLIGHT 18th AND 19th CENTURY MORAVIAN
POTTERS AND THEIR UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO MORAVIAN
CULTURE.>>THERE’S SOMETHING FASCINATING
ABOUT WATCHING POTTERS AT THEIR CRAFT SKILLFULLY MOLDING THE
CLAY INTO EVERYDAY ESSENTIAL ITEMS. IN THE 18th AND 19th CENTURIES,
MORAVIAN CRAFTSMEN HAD A GOD-DRIVEN FOCUS IN ALL THEIR
WORK, AND IT’S THEIR EXTRA ATTENTION TO DETAIL THAT IS
HIGHLY VALUED AND TREASURED. FROM BRICKS AND PIPES TO
EVERYDAY POTTERY, ALL WAS MADE CAREFULLY AND WITH PURPOSE BY
HAND. WE’RE HERE IN OLD SALEM FOR
“COLLECTING CAROLINA” TO LEARN ABOUT MORAVIAN DECORATIVE ARTS
WITH BARRY SIDDEN AND, OF COURSE, JOHANNA BROWN. JOHANNA, TELL US ABOUT HOW SALEM
GOT STARTED.>>SALEM WAS ONE OF THREE
MORAVIAN COMMUNITIES FOUNDED IN THE 18th CENTURY BY THE
MORAVIANS, WHO SETTLED IN THE YADKIN RIVER VALLEY. THEY PURCHASED 100,000 ACRES IN
NORTH CAROLINA. THEY CALLED THE TRACT THE
WACHOVIA TRACT. THEY SETTLED CHURCH-GOVERNED
COMMUNITIES WHERE THE CHURCH OWNED ALL OF THE PROPERTY AND
MANY OF THE MAJOR BUSINESSES. AND WE KNOW ALL OF THIS BECAUSE
THE MORAVIANS WERE METICULOUS RECORD KEEPERS, AND MANY OF
THOSE RECORDS STILL EXIST, HAVE BEEN TRANSLATED AND TRANSCRIBED
FOR US TO USE.>>JULIA, WHEN YOU COME TO OLD
SALEM, YOU CAN VISIT THE SINGLE BROTHERS’ HOUSE AND THE POTTERY
AND SEE MORAVIAN POTTERY STILL BEING MADE TODAY THE SAME AS IT
WAS IN THE 18th CENTURY.>>TO LEARN MORE, WE VISIT THE
MORAVIAN POTTERY EXHIBIT AT THE MUSEUM OF EARLY SOUTHERN
DECORATIVE ARTS DOWN AT THE END OF MAIN STREET IN OLD SALEM. JOHANNA, THIS IS SURELY THE MOST
FAMOUS PIECE OF MORAVIAN POTTERY.>>IT IS. THIS IS THE SHOP SIGN MADE BY
GOTTFRIED AUST, WHO WAS THE PROGENITOR OF THE NORTH CAROLINA
MORAVIAN POTTERY TRADITION. IT IS EARTHENWARE DECORATED WITH
SLIP DECORATION, WHICH SLIP IS LIQUID CLAY, AND HE USED SEVERAL
SPIRITUAL SYMBOLS TO DECORATE THIS DISH, AS HE DID WITH MANY
OF HIS OTHER PIECES. THE MORAVIANS WERE VERY
SPIRITUAL PEOPLE, AND SO THEY CHOSE TO DECORATE WITH SYMBOLS
OF CHRIST AND CHRISTIAN BELIEF. FOR EXAMPLE, THE CARNATIONS ARE
REPRESENTATIVE OF CHRIST, AS ARE THE LITTLE POMEGRANATES. AND, OF COURSE, THE DOVE IS
PROBABLY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.>>AND THEY ALSO DECORATED THESE
PLATES OVER HERE. TELL US ABOUT THEM.>>YES. WE HAVE SOME OTHER DISHES THAT
ARE DECORATED WITH OTHER SYMBOLS OF THEIR BELIEFS. THE ANEMONES, FOR EXAMPLE, ARE
SYMBOLIC OF THE BLOOD THAT FELL FROM CHRIST’S WOUNDS AS HE WAS
CRUCIFIED. THE POMEGRANATES ARE ALSO
RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS. ONE OF THE WAYS THAT WE’RE ABLE
TO IDENTIFY THESE OBJECTS AS HAVING COME FROM SALEM IS THAT
WE’VE HAD AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROGRAM HERE FOR A VERY LONG
TIME, AND SO WE CAN LOOK AT EXAMPLES THAT HAVE BEEN
EXCAVATED BOTH IN SALEM AND BETHABARA, WHICH IS ONE OF THE
OTHER EARLY MORAVIAN COMMUNITIES, COMPARE THEM TO
EXTANT EXAMPLES, AND REALLY PROVE THAT THEY CAME FROM THE
WACHOVIA TRACT POTTERIES.>>BARRY, WE’RE HERE IN MESDA,
AND YOU BROUGHT IN A VERY SPECIAL OBJECT FOR US. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT IT. THIS IS A PIECE OF POTTERY KNOWN
AS A PORRINGER, AND IT WAS MADE HERE IN SALEM BY ONE OF THE
EARLY POTTERS.>>IT’S HIGHLY DECORATED. TELL US WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT
THAT.>>WELL, IT IS. MOST MORAVIAN UTILITARIAN WARE,
OF WHICH THIS IS A PIECE, IS UNGLAZED, ON THE OUTSIDE,
ESPECIALLY. THIS PIECE, AS YOU CAN SEE, IS
GLAZED ON THE OUTSIDE. IT HAS DECORATIVE RINGS, A
DECORATIVE FOOT, A PRETTY SHAPE TO THE HANDLE, AND GLAZED ON THE
INSIDE AS WELL, EVEN WITH AN EXTRA COLOR PUT IN.>>WHY DID THE MORAVIANS GO TO
SUCH TROUBLE?>>YOU KNOW, THE MORAVIANS WERE
FROM THE RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND NOT REALLY WORKING FOR OTHER
MEN. THEY WERE WORKING FOR THE CHURCH
AND ULTIMATELY GOD, AND SO THEY WENT THE EXTRA MILE ON
EVERYTHING THEY DID.>>WELL, IT LOOKS VERY SPECIAL. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT’S WORTH?>>THIS PIECE, SURPRISINGLY, IS
WORTH BETWEEN $15,000 AND $20,000.>>WOW! YOU MUST BE A PROUD OWNER TO
HAVE THAT. THAT’S VERY SPECIAL.>>OH, YEAH.>>THERE’S SO MUCH TO SEE AND
ENJOY WHEN YOU VISIT OLD SALEM, SO MAKE A SPECIAL STOP AND VISIT
THE POTTERS SHOP IN THE SINGLE BROTHERS’ HOUSE. AND REMEMBER THE POTTERS’
CONTRIBUTION IN THE ORIGINAL BRICKS AND TILE WORK AND ON THE
SHELVES ALL AROUND YOU. FOR “NORTH CAROLINA WEEKEND” AND
“COLLECTING CAROLINA,” I’M JULIA CARPENTER.

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