Notes of Interest :
A Bartmannkruge (Bellarmine Jug), listed as "stoneware German School,
moulded with a guild medallion depicting a heart
containing a small cross, the neck with grotesque bearded mask, with loop handle"
resides at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter Devon UK.
Another is the in the collection of Bellarmine Museum, book III no 33, Swaffham, Norfolk.
"Frechen" first mentioned in 877, is a town in the Rhein-Erft-Kreis, in the heart of Rhineland, Germany.
It is situated at the western Cologne. It was one of the largest centers of stoneware production in Europe,
those characterized by relief decoration through the use of mould techniques.
These salt-glazed stonewares were made in various sizes and for a multitude of uses,
including storage of food or drink, decanting wine and transporting goods.
As well, various patterns and motifs were used throughout different periods and regions,
and one of the most distinct and well-known was the bearded facemask (German: Bartmaske)
used most frequently by 16th and 17th century potters of Cologne - and especially Frechen -
to decorate the necks of stoneware bottles, jugs and pitchers.
The difference between the two is said to be discernible by the shape of the beard –
the Cologne beards being squarer, whilst the Frechen beards were rounded.
The image of the bearded face itself is believed originating in a "mythical wild man creature",
popular in northern European folklore from the 14th century,
and later appearing as an illustration on everything from manuscript illuminations to metal workings.
In addition to the bearded man masks, Bartmannkrugs often were applied with
city and personal coats of arms, as well as a 'Hausmarke', or guild medallion.
The medallion on this jug is twice mentioned as a guild medallion.
The "heart" is also mentioned as "love heart".
A popular alternative name for Bartmannkrug is "Bellarmine", recorded as early as 1634,
and associated with Jesuit Cardinal Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmino (1542-1621).
The exact reason for this association is not entirely clear.
The Cardinal was quite learned, a professor, author, and even challenged Gallileo on his scientific theories.
Pope Clement VIII said of him, "the Church of God had not his equal in learning".
He was also a fierce opponent of Protestantism in the Low Countries and northern Germany.
For perhaps some of the above reasons,
he was supposedly thought by some to have sway with invading evil spirits.
Bellarmine or Bartmann jugs were often jugs were employed as 'witch bottles',
a popular type of 'magical item' which was filled with various bizarre objects
and supposed to benefit their owners from harm spirits, spell, and enemies.
These could be placed on the hearth, at the door, or buried at the corners of the property.
However, it has also been reported that the Protestant English,
accustomed to the monarch-led church since King Henry VIII,
mocked Bellarmine by naming the imported stoneware pots with bearded faces after him,
and delighted in exploding the bizarrely-filled bottles in reaction to his Protestant opposition.
It is of some interest that the silver neck mount sits atop this particular bearded man almost as a "crown".
Bellarmine was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930,
his remains in a cardinal's red robes under a side altar in the Church of Saint Ignatius, Rome.
(The Above 1622-1623 Portrait of Cardinal Bellarmine, housed at the Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp)