906 05 Sobotište, Slovakia
+421 34 628 21 02

Ceramic production of anabaptists from Sobotište

Haban pottery makers in Sobotište dominated three types of ceramic production: tile, jug and pottery. Sobotište is also famous as one of the most famous centers of haban faience production. Part of the broad ceramic production of Sobotište was in addition to faience and so-called pottery and building ceramics (in particular tiles, colored mosaic and water pipes and tile production).

The beginnings of faience production in Sobotište are probably related to the evacuation of the anabaptists from Moravia in 1622, some of which settled here. Archaeological findings did not confirm ceramics from the earlier period. Faience  products from Sobotište excelled in bright shiny glaze, adhering to blue, yellow, green and violet colors. Especially famous were faience products with a yellow glaze that excelled in a specific opal glance.

Sobotište workshops reached the peak of production in the 17th century. The continuity of faience production in the Sobotište juggling workshops was manifested mainly in the quality of the products as well as in the design itself, whether in terms of composition, decoration, ornamentation or color. Individual well-preserved products reflect excellent craftsmanship and knowledge of the production process. In the 18th century their production fell, and from the first half of the 19th century the workshops gradually disappeared.

Anabaptist faience (1622-1685) and ceramic products from Sobotište

Also known as fraternal dishes or hutish white dishes (Brüderisches Geschirr). The oldest written document relating to the Sobotište faience dates back to 1628. It is the correspondence of Karol the Elder of Žerotín with the Sobotište Superior of the village of Waltin Winter. The Moravian nobleman ordered a faience ensemble and dining accessories, saying that it should be the same weisse Erdgefäss they sent to his wife last year. From this source it follows that already in 1627 the production of faience was ran in Sobotište.

Among the oldest faience products from Sobotište are mainly pitchers of various shapes, large oval plates, bowls and trays with open-bottomed bottom. The oldest preserved jugs have a bulging belly with a narrow lower throat, one ear, a white glaze and a simple painted plant ornament, especially yellow and blue. They are also jugs with a bulging belly, but differ in richer painted plant décor and a narrower neck with a tin cover.  There are also smaller mugs with white glaze, simple plant décor and dating. There are also bowls of different shapes, pints, candlesticks. A special group are medical containers, so-called. albarella of various shapes, bottles with tin closures and spirits. Among the well-preserved containers, they are mainly tin cover-pints with one ear, which are decorated with a rich plant ornament on a white background. True masterpieces include bowls and foot trays with wide openwork edges, also called scarves. The decoration techniques are painted patterns on a white background, carving and so-called ribbing.

Until the mid-17th century only plant decorative motives were applied, after the subsequent release of the regulations in the anabaptist community the paintings of animals, birds and buildings were allowed. Of the plant patterns, especially tulips, roses, cloves, and fruit were pears and pomegranates. Zoomorphic motives mainly represented deer and birds. After the abolition of collective management in 1685, the decorative ceramic range was enriched with human figures, aristocratic and craft coats of arms.