Bellarmine Jug

Late 16th century


In the sixteenth century, wines and beers were drawn from barrels into bottles of stoneware or leather. This type of stoneware bottle (salt-glazed) was made in the Netherlands and incorporated a stamped image of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621).

This man was a bitter opponent of the Dutch Reformed Church and thus it was common for Protestants who disliked him to smash the jugs!

These vessels were also frequently used as "witch bottles." This entailed filling the jug with certain articles, sealing it and burying it. This was done in order to deflect a witch's curse. Many of these witch bottles have been discovered buried under ground.

Further reading : Merrifield, R.: 1987: The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic




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