Water jar with spout (vase à bec)

Date: second half 16th century

Culture: French, La Chapelle-des-Pots

Medium: Lead-glazed earthenware

Dimensions: Height: 15 3/4 in. (40 cm);
Diameter: 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Pottery

Credit Line: The Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.25


This water jar comes from Saintes in southwestern France, which was an important center of ceramic production beginning as early as the thirteenth century. The city produced highly creative and versatile ceramics of the finest quality, including those of Saintes-born potter Bernard Palissy. This water jug's bold economic form testifies to the strength of the city's tradition in this craft. Its shape responds perfectly to its function: the round body is echoed in the hoop strap over the cylindrical neck, and three more straps join the neck to the waist in order to facilitate pouring. The thick lead glaze in bright green that coats and protects its surface is standard for lead-glazed green wares from the region. Its form appears to be unique to the sixteenth century.