Gottfried Aust (1722-1788) and Rudolph Christ (1750-1833): Moravian Potters in North Carolina

German immigrants Gottfied Aust and Rudolph Christ established a long-lasting, important, and distinctive pottery tradition in the southern United States. Master potter Gottfried Aust settled in Bethabara, one of the earliest Moravian communities in North Carolina, in 1755. He and his apprentices and journeymen, including Rudolph Christ (who replaced Aust as master in 1789), were some of the earliest American potters to experiment with the production of creamware, white, salt-glazed stoneware, and tin-glazed earthenware. Together, Aust and Christ developed a distinct aesthetic tradition that would continue to be appreciated centuries later for both its visual and aesthetic qualities.

Updated: March 12, 2015

Introduction

German immigrants Gottfied Aust (born April 5, 1722, in Heidersdorf, Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia; died October 27, 1788, in Lititz, PA) and Rudolph Christ (born 1750 Laufen, Duchy of Württemberg; died July 26, 1833, in Salem, NC) established a long-lasting, important, and distinctive pottery tradition in the southern United States. The two men were members of the protestant sect known as the Unitas Fratrum or the Moravian Church.[1] Having come primarily from the German lands, the Moravians’ first successful American communities were in Pennsylvania. In 1753, they expanded to the South and established similar, carefully-controlled, theocratic communities in North Carolina. The earliest North Carolina Moravian communities were Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem (collectively known as Wachovia). Master potter Gottfried Aust settled in Bethabara in 1755. He and his apprentices and journeymen, including Rudolph Christ (who replaced Aust as master in 1789), were some of the earliest American potters to experiment with the production of creamware, white, salt-glazed stoneware, and tin-glazed earthenware (faience). In addition, Rudolph Christ began press-molding collectible bottles in the shapes of animals such as fish, squirrels, and turtles at the turn of the nineteenth century, probably, in part, to imitate English figural pottery. The leaders of the church-governed community of Salem, North Carolina, recognized and appreciated the entrepreneurial spirit of the potters, commenting in 1793:

In the Salem pottery a new kiln has been built for faience though we do not yet know how it will work, as it has not been fired. Usually each new line [of pottery] draws customers, and there are potters enough around us where [customers] would otherwise go.[2]

Together, Aust and Christ developed a distinct aesthetic tradition that would continue to be appreciated centuries later for both its visual and aesthetic qualities.

Family Background of Gottfried Aust

Born in Heidersdorf in Prussian Silesia in 1722, as a boy Aust learned the weaver’s trade from his father. Although his Lebenslauf, or memoir, exists in the Moravian Archives, Aust did not mention his parents’ names when writing the document, so little is known of his family background. After leaving home at the age of nineteen, he joined the Moravian congregation in Herrnhut, Saxony, in 1742, where he learned the potter’s trade from master potter Andreas Dober, starting as an apprentice and later presumably becoming a journeyman in Dober’s shop. In 1752, Aust moved to the Moravian community of Niesky, Saxony, where he lived for two years before he received the call to travel to America to serve as the potter in the newly-founded community of Bethabara. Sailing from London on September 22, 1754, he arrived in New York aboard the ship Irene on November 16 with fifty-four other members of the church. The group reached Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on November 24, where Aust went to work briefly for master potter Michael Odenwald. In October 1755, Aust travelled to the newly-established Moravian community of Bethabara, in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, to establish the first Moravian potter’s shop in that community.[3]

Aust was married three times. He and his first wife, the widow Anna Felicitas Grosch Heckedorn, were married in 1765. The couple had one son, John Gottfried (1768-1787) and adopted another orphaned boy, Gottlob Krause (1760-1802), before Anna died in 1778. Aust married the widow Christine Dixon in 1779, who died of smallpox the same year. In 1780, Aust traveled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to marry Maria Hirt, with whom he returned to North Carolina. The couple had one stillborn child in 1782.

In addition to operating the church-owned pottery works, first in Bethabara (1755-1771) and later in Salem (1771-1788), Aust served on various church boards and held civic offices within the North Carolina communities. Perhaps the most notable of these was his involvement, beginning in 1774, in organizing and maintaining the fire equipment (ladders, buckets, hooks, and so forth) used to protect the community of Salem from conflagrations.[4] He also apparently supervised the boys working as chimney sweeps.  As one who not only built and maintained fires in pottery kilns but also built and installed tile stoves constructed from earthenware tiles made in the pottery, Aust no doubt had a special understanding of fire prevention and control. Perhaps this is why he was tasked with supervising the chimney sweeps.

In addition to taking his own son, John Gottfried, into the pottery works as an apprentice when he came of age around the year 1780, Aust supervised the training of several other young men throughout his years as master potter, first in Bethabara and later in Salem. One of these, the orphan Gottlob Krause (1760-1802), was eventually sent to live in the Aust household, and was adopted by Aust and his first wife in 1771. Krause trained in Aust’s shop and eventually became a potter and brick mason. Although we do not know exactly how many apprentices Aust may have trained in his shop, the one who ultimately succeeded him as master potter in Wachovia, Rudolph Christ, was apparently working in Aust’s Bethabara pottery shop by 1766.[5]

Family Background of Rudolph Christ

The son of Rudolph Christ and Anna Wolfer Christ, the potter Rudolph Christ was born in Laufen, Württemberg, in 1750. His family immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when he was an infant and joined the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, around 1753. When he moved to Wachovia in 1764, he apparently worked in the Bethabara brewery before he was apprenticed to Gottfried Aust around 1766.[6] The relationship between Aust and Christ was a mercurial one. Christ apparently left Aust’s shop on more than one occasion to work for others in the community and even briefly left Aust’s employ to work in the gun shop of Valentine Beck in 1771. By 1772 he was back working in Aust’s shop, which had moved to nearby Salem. By 1773 or 1774 Christ’s status was probably elevated to that of a journeyman in Aust’s shop, despite the tension between the two men. While Christ continued to work with Aust, he tried to convince church leaders that they should allow him to set up his own pottery works. It was not until 1785 that the church leaders allowed him to do so in the nearby town of Bethabara. Following Aust’s death in 1788, Christ moved back to Salem to take over the Salem pottery in 1789.

Rudolph Christ was apparently a talented musician, serving the church in that capacity for more than 60 years. Various personal and church-related journals mention Christ’s musical contributions. His memoir states, “He found particular joy in music and served for more than 60 years in connection with that in various ways in the congregation, especially with musical singing.” Since music was an important component of everyday life and worship in Moravian communities, Christ’s musical contributions were important to religious life in the North Carolina Moravian communities. He also held various civic roles once he returned to Salem as the community’s master potter, including serving on the Congregation Council and the Aufseher Collegium (the church board that regulated secular activities, including trade). In 1780 Christ married Elizabeth Oesterle in and the couple had six children: Anna Elizabeth (1780-1781), Benigna Elizabeth (1783-1792), Friedrich Jacob (1783-1792), Johann Rudolph (1788-1792), Anna Sulamith (born and died 1792), and a stillborn child. After the death of his first wife in 1802, Christ married Anna Christina Blum in 1803 and the couple had four children: one child died at birth in 1804, Anna Elizabeth (1805-1878), Jacob Rudolph (1808-?), and Traugott Frederick (1816-1905). None of Rudolph Christ’s children became potters although they continued to be members of the Moravian church. According to census records, Jacob Rudolph became a merchant and Traugott Frederick worked as a clerk in a dry goods store.

Social and Religious Network and Immigrant Entrepreneurship

As members of the Moravian Church and residents of communities operated by the church, Gottfried Aust and Rudolph Christ were in an unusual position as American tradesmen. The church boards both at the local level and in Herrnhut, Saxony, governed the secular organization of the communities and managed the religious life of its members. While this oversight could be restrictive, it also offered tradesmen such as Aust and Christ a safety net of sorts by regulating competition among those practicing the various trades through trade board meetings. The church also supported the craftsmen by promoting their goods outside of the religious communities. The seemingly antithetical goals of protecting the faithful from outside influences, while at the same time taking advantage of opportunities to benefit financially from trade with outsiders, created tensions requiring the constant vigilance of church boards.

The Moravian Church owned the pottery operation, and paid a salary of one half of the annual profit to the master potters. The church was interested in promoting the business because its success furthered the financial stability of the church as a whole, which, in turn, supported its missionary efforts. Perhaps it was this safety net of church support that allowed Gottfried Aust and Rudolph Christ the freedom to experiment with new forms and methods and ultimately to establish a very distinctive and successful pottery tradition in America.

By November 1755, when Gottfried Aust first arrived in North Carolina, the small town of Bethabara had been without someone to replace broken dishes, cracked cooking pots, and damaged storage jars for nearly two years since its founding. The Moravians living in this frontier community were rather isolated in the mid-eighteenth century, surrounded by land largely unpopulated by European or English settlers. They anxiously awaited the arrival of Aust. His trade was one that they were eager to see established not only for their own benefit, but for the profit they knew it could generate from the few settlers scattered around the Moravian community and the anticipated arrival of colonists moving south from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. In the eighteenth century, it was not uncommon for customers to come as far as fifty or sixty miles from small individual farms to Moravian communities to buy pottery.

Earthenware is a term applied to ceramics made from clays with a high concentration of ferrous oxide, giving the clay its reddish color. The availability of such clay in the Piedmont region of North Carolina was noted by Moravian surveyor Christian Gottlieb Reuter (1717-1777) in 1764, when he described in detail the natural resources available on the nearly 100,000 acres of land the Moravians had purchased in North Carolina. He noted that the tract had “…clay for brick in sufficient quantity.”[7] Although clay for ceramic vessels is not specifically mentioned, the records note that Aust was able to find pockets of clay suitable for the making of pottery close to the community of Bethabara within weeks of his arrival.[8]

Aust arrived in Bethabara at the age of thirty-three and had been well-trained in all aspects of the pottery operation, having worked as an apprentice to Andreas Dober (1708-1796), the master potter at Herrnhut.[9] Once in North Carolina, Aust lost no time in establishing his trade, and just eleven days after his arrival, the church diarist notes, “Aust went out to look for flint which he could use in the making of glazing.”[10] Within weeks, the diarist comments, “Aust dug clay and made pottery, for which the people were eager: he also began to make clay pipes.”[11] By the end of the following summer, Aust had built a kiln that worked, had experimented with firing the pottery, and had successfully “burned pottery.” By September the church diarist announced excitedly, “Br. Aust burned pottery today… and so the great need is at last relieved. Each living room now has the ware it needs, and the kitchen is furnished. There is also a set of mugs of uniform size for lovefeast.”[12]

As was their intention, the Moravians became the suppliers of pottery for the surrounding backcountry settlers, both individuals as well as storekeepers such as John Moore, who traveled to Bethabara to buy a wagonload of pottery to take back to his store on the Catwaba River in 1762.[13] In the sparsely settled backcountry of North Carolina, the Moravian potters provided a resource desired as much for its utility as for its aesthetic qualities.

In May 1770, the Church diarist commented on a large number of visitors in town to buy “milk pots and pans in our pottery. They bought the entire stock, not one piece was left…. Others who came too late could find none.”[14] This vigorous trade continued after Aust moved the pottery facility to the newly-built Moravian community of Salem, North Carolina, just seven miles from Bethabara, in 1771. Storekeepers and individual settlers alike gathered from miles around to purchase the goods produced by Aust and the journeymen and apprentices working for him. In fact, the May 1776 kiln opening drew so many people to Salem that church leaders commented on being “uneasy” because they knew that “many of [the customers] will not be able to get anything.”[15]

The bread and butter of Moravian pottery works in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were utilitarian ware such as storage jars. Late eighteenth-century inventories list cream pots, milk pans, and chamber pots by the hundreds and pipe bowls by the thousands. Also listed are hundreds of pint and quart mugs and cooking pots.

Gottfried Aust made a shop sign in 1773, just two years after his move to Salem, presumably in response to a church board directive that, “signs be placed on the houses of those having professions, and on the Store and the Tavern, for the convenience of strangers coming to town. The sign should give the name of the master and his profession… Gottfried Aust, a potter.”[16] Aust apparently felt that an enormous slip decorated redware plate with his name on it was indication enough of his line of work since he did not specify his trade on the sign.[17] Removing all doubt as to the plate’s original function, Aust put two substantial lugs on the back of the sign for hanging. Including both stylized and realistic flowers and Aust’s trademark dramatic foliage, as well as motifs he used less commonly including the dove in flight and the tiled diamond, the shop sign serves as a veritable Rosetta Stone of techniques and motifs Aust – and those whom he trained – employed on the earthenware plates produced in the Bethabara and Salem potteries.

As the master potter in Wachovia[18] for thirty-three years, Gottfried Aust was responsible for training the next generation of Moravian potters including Rudolph Christ, who took over after Aust’s death in 1788. Christ adopted his predecessor’s slip decorating style, but he was also responsible for the advancement of the ware the Moravians described as being made of “washed clay,” a tradition first introduced to Aust in 1771 by an unnamed visitor and initiated again in 1773 by a potter by the name of William Ellis. Ellis had traveled to Salem after his involvement in a failed attempt to establish a creamware pottery in South Carolina. An agreement eventually worked out between Aust and Christ gave Christ oversight of the products made of refined clay called “fine” plates on inventories of the pottery works. Christ also used tortoiseshell decoration on some redware vessels made of the less refined or “unwashed” clay.[19]

Aust deserves the credit for successfully establishing the Moravian earthenware tradition in North Carolina and training a generation of potters to follow in his footsteps. He established a thriving business that produced quality wares in a Germanic tradition in a relatively unpopulated part of North Carolina. The business he established was healthy enough that Aust and his apprentices were able to experiment with developing new products. It was also so well known that other potters made a point to stop in Salem and work with the Salem potters during their travels. Clearly the Salem potters had an excellent reputation.

It was the second master potter, Rudolph Christ, however, who can be credited with embracing change and experimentation within the pottery operation and pursuing a more entrepreneurial approach to the trade. He developed Aust’s and his experiments with fine ware, which imitated English creamware, into a profitable product line. Christ also welcomed German potter Carl Eisenberg in 1793 and learned tin-glazing techniques from him. Furthermore, it was Christ who introduced what has become one of the most collectable forms of North Carolina Moravian pottery, the press-molded figural bottle.

The pottery inventory taken in 1800 is the first to list animal bottles of any kind. This new form was launched with the introduction of the turtle bottle, the mold for which was taken using a real turtle, probably an eastern box turtle (terrapene carolina carolina). Over the next couple of years, the available bottle menagerie grew to include fish, squirrels, crayfish, owls, and foxes, just to name a few. Although some of the bottles functioned as casters and others may have served as flasks, most were probably purely decorative and intended to be collectables, just as they are today. Several of the press-molded forms are reminiscent of Staffordshire antecedents. Others seem to be whimsical creations from the potter’s own imagination.

The opening decades of the nineteenth century saw an increased fascination with light, color, texture, and novelty as the notion of fancy permeated American decorative arts. The brightly-colored, whimsical, press-molded bottles made in the Moravian pottery shops in this period might well have been a local response by Rudolph Christ to the rising demand for fancy goods that reflected the relationship between objects and the imagination.[20] Regardless of their form and function, the bottles served as yet another product to keep the Moravians competitive in the marketplace as more and more potters moved into the Carolina backcountry and challenged the Moravians’ hold on the earthenware market. By the turn of the nineteenth century, more and more North Carolinians had reached the level of financial stability that enabled them to indulge in the purchase of non-essentials. The Moravian potters were more than happy to provide them with collectable wares.

The Moravians themselves acknowledged the growing competition from other pottery producers when the community administrator, Frederic William Marshall (1721-1802), noted in the late eighteenth century, “usually each new line draws customers, and there are potters enough around us where they would otherwise go.”[21] Although Marshall does not mention specific potters by name, potters of German descent working in the North Carolina counties to the east of Salem in what was then Orange County (now Alamance County) had by this time a well-established pottery tradition of their own.

In addition to experimentation with tin-glazed earthenwares and the production of local creamware, evidence above ground and below (archaeological) suggests that even as he experimented with new wares, Christ continued to make the more traditional wares introduced to him by the founder of the North Carolina Moravian pottery tradition, Gottfried Aust. If we are to look at the body of extant traditional slip decorated wares, it is clear that the motifs chosen by Christ and his contemporaries are similar to those chosen by Aust, thus creating a unified body of work that changed only slightly during the first fifty to sixty years that the Moravian potter’s shop was in operation.

There is little evidence to support the use of anything but floral and naturalistic slip motifs on Moravian dishes. The Moravians may have looked to published herbals (books containing images of medicinal flora) for inspiration in creating the designs on their elaborately decorated wares. They may also have looked to other European antecedents as well. The slip decoration of Aust’s shop sign is reminiscent of a flower painting in composition. Flowers have long been used by artists painting on canvas as symbols of various emotions, beliefs, and intentions as well as for the uncertainty and the fleeting nature of life on earth. The Moravians, most of whom were well educated by eighteenth-century standards, understood the significance of flower and plant metaphors. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Moravian potters chose to use Christian iconography in the form of flowers with symbolic significance as expressions of their strong religious beliefs. This design (pictured here on this iconic dish) is the only design known to exist (with only slight variations) on more than one extant dish. Examples of similar designs are also found archaeologically. The flowers with large petals are anemones and the central stalk represents lily of the valley. Christians have long believed anemones to be the flowers that sprung up from the ground beneath the crucified Christ as the blood dripped from his wounds.[22] Therefore, the anemone represents the sacrifice made by Christ for his followers. One of the most commonly cited flower metaphors in the Judeo-Christian tradition is Song of Solomon 2:1: “I am the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valleys.” Since the Middle Ages, the female voice in that verse has been interpreted as the “bride” in an allegory for marriage of each individual Christian to Christ. In the context of the Song of Solomon, the lily symbolizes both the advent of Christ and each individual believer’s relationship to him. Since the Moravians had a long history of detailed analysis of the proper course each believer should pursue in his or her personal relationship with Christ, and since the Moravians’ spiritual leader, Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, promoted the image of Christ as the bridegroom and each individual as Christ’s bride, the images in the Song of Solomon had special significance. The image on the plate, therefore, serves as a reminder of the centrality of the drama of salvation, as well as the importance of maintaining an intimate personal relationship with one’s Savior.

In her book, Material Christianity, social historian Colleen McDannell has written that sacred objects produced by and for a distinct group serve two functions, not only do they bind the believer to the scared, they also bind the body of believers together. [23] This is a provocative idea in view of the Moravians constant battle to balance their need for trade with outsiders or “strangers” – as they called visitors to the community – with their desire to insulate themselves from the outside world. To outsiders, such a decorated dish may have been considered simply ornamental. Members of the Moravian community, however, understood the deeper spiritual meanings of the flowers depicted by the slip decoration. The potters balanced the outsider’s desire for beauty with spiritual expression appreciated by their Moravian customers.

Despite competition from elsewhere in North Carolina, the Moravians in Salem continued to operate the pottery as a church-owned business until 1829. In 1821, the church asked Christ’s journeyman, John Holland (1781-1843), to assume the mastership of the pottery when, at the age of 71, Christ decided to give up his post. Unfortunately, Holland was not as talented at managing the pottery as his predecessors had been. Within eight years, Moravian leaders were fed up with declining profits of the pottery works and blamed Holland’s poor management and “complaints about the poor glazing on the potter’s wares.”[24] Although Holland attempted to run the pottery without church oversight for several years, he eventually closed his business.

The long-standing tradition of redware production in Salem was continued successfully, however. Henry Shaffner (1798-1877), a potter recruited by the Salem church leaders from the Moravian community of Neuweid in the German Rhineland, arrived in 1833 and worked with Holland briefly before starting his own shop. Later, Shaffner in partnership with his apprentice, Daniel Krause (d. 1903) kept the pottery operation in Salem profitable by adapting production to meet the changing needs of customers until the late nineteenth century. Although production priorities shifted away from slip decorated wares as the nineteenth century progressed, Shaffner and Krause continued to be known for clay pipes and utilitarian earthenware, much of which closely resembled the goods of the earlier generation of potters. The survival of the Moravian pottery tradition through nearly 150 years is a remarkable testament to the ability of the Moravian potters to adapt and change their production to suit the changing marketplace, a marketplace that included increasing competition not only from other local potters moving into North Carolina, but also from goods imported from outside the state.

Conclusion

Many examples of vessels made in the shops of Gottfried Aust and Rudolph Christ survive today in museum and private collections. The work of Aust, Christ, and the potters who worked with them are considered to be some of the finest examples of surviving eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American earthenware produced by German immigrants. Old Salem Museums & Gardens in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a living history museum that interprets the history of Moravian settlement in North Carolina, has the largest extant collection of these materials, many of which are regularly  on exhibit. The willingness of the entrepreneurial Moravian potters Gottfried Aust and Rudolph Christ to balance traditional earthenware production with innovative additions and alterations is what made them successful in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Our fascination centuries later with the men and the products of their shops is a testament to the lasting contribution of these German immigrants to the American aesthetic.

Notes

[1] For a detailed history of the Moravian Church, please see J. Taylor Hamilton and Kenneth G. Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church: The Renewed Unitas Fratrum 1722-1957 (Bethlehem and Winston-Salem: Interprovincial Board of Christian Education, Moravian Church in America, 1967).

[2] Frederick William Marshall’s report to the Unity Collegium, Moravian Archives, Southern Province, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Translated. For additional information on the introduction of tin-glazed earthenware techniques and glazes, please see Bradford L. Rauschenberg, “Carl Eisenberg’s Introduction of Tin-Glazed Ceramics to Salem, North Carolina, and Evidence for Early Tin-Glaze Production Elsewhere in North America,” Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, 31, no. 1 (Summer 2005). For a thorough history of the settlement of Moravian communities in in North Carolina, please see Daniel B. Thorp, The Moravian Community in North Carolina: Pluraliem on the Southern Frontier (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989).

[3] “The Memoir of Gottfried Aust, Who Fell Asleep in Lititz on October 28, 1788. Typescript located in the Old Salem Museums and Gardens Library.

[4] Minutes of the Helper’s Conference, Salem, North Carolina, 4 July 1774. Translations in the Old Salem Museums & Gardens Library.

[5] Excerpts from various records of the Moravian Church Boards are extracted, translated, and compiled in the “Wachovia Area Residents File” in the Old Salem Museums and Gardens Library which are organized alphabetically by resident name.

[6] Memoir of Rudolph Christ 1750-1833, Typescript in Moravian Archives Southern Province, Winston-Salem, NC, and “Catalogue of the Inhabitants of Bethabara in Wachovia, Boys & Prentices.” Also in the Moravian Archives Southern Province.

[7] Reuter, Christian Gottlieb (attributed), “Wachau or Dobbs Parish, 1764” translated and transcribed in Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Vol. 2, page 558. Adelaide L. Fries, ed. Raleigh, NC: State Department of Archives and History, Reprinted 1968.

[8] “Wachovia Diary 1755,” extracts translated in Fries, Vol. 1, p. 149.

[9] It was not at all unusual for Moravians coming from European congregations to live in Bethlehem for a short period of time before moving to North Carolina.

[10] “Wachovia Diary 1755,” extracts translated in Fries, Vol. 1, p. 148.

[11] “Wachovia Diary 1755,” extracts translated in Fries, Vol. 1, p. 149.

[12] “Bethabara Diary 1756,” extracts translated in Fries, Vol. 1, p. 172. The Lovefeast was (and still is) a hymn and fellowship service in the Moravian Church based upon the Agape feast and the meals of the early churches described in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles. Lovefeast services are used by Moravians to commemorate events and celebrations.

[13] “Diary of Bethabara and Bethania 1762,” extracts translated in Fries, Vol. 1, p. 251.

[14] “Wachovia Diary 1770,” extracts translated in Fries, Vol. 1, p. 412.

[15] “Salem Diary 1778,” extracts translated in Fries Vol. 3, p. 1231.

[16] “Minutes of the Church Conferences 1773,” extracts translated in Fries, Vol. 2 p. 771.

[17] Slip is liquid clay applied decoratively to a piece of earthenware.

[18] Wachovia was the name the Moravians gave to the nearly 100,000 acres of land they purchased in North Carolina. The title comes from the name of the ancestral estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, the eighteenth century spiritual leader of the Moravian Church.

[19] The discussion of washed vs. unwashed clay is recorded in “Minutes of the Aufseher Collegium, August 1, 1782.”  Original Documents Located in the Moravian Archives, Southern Province, Winston-Salem, NC. Translated transcript in MESDA Research Center, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The original eighteenth and nineteenth century pottery inventories are also held by the Moravian Archives, Southern Province.

[20] Sumpter Priddy,American Fancy. Milwaukee: The Chipstone Foundation, 2004: xxvii.

[21] “Report of Frederic William Marshall to the Unity Vorsteher Collegium [Unity Financial Board] 1793,” extracts translated in Fries (1970 Reprint), Vol. 6 p. 2484.

[22] For confirmation and discussion of the symbolic meanings of the flora depicted on Moravian slip decorated dishes, please see George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 1961).

[23] Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 45-46.

[24] “Minutes of the Aufseher Collegium, May 12, 1828.”  Original Documents Located in the Moravian Archives, Southern Province, Winston-Salem, NC. Translated transcript in MESDA Research Center, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

 

Cite this Entry

APA Style

"Gottfried Aust (1722-1788) and Rudolph Christ (1750-1833): Moravian Potters in North Carolina." (2018) In Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Retrieved May 25, 2018, from Immigrant Entrepreneurship: http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=232

Chicago Style

Brown, Johanna M. "Gottfried Aust (1722-1788) and Rudolph Christ (1750-1833): Moravian Potters in North Carolina." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 1, edited by Marianne S. Wokeck. German Historical Institute. Last modified March 12, 2015. http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=232

MLA Style

"Gottfried Aust (1722-1788) and Rudolph Christ (1750-1833): Moravian Potters in North Carolina," Immigrant Entrepreneurship, 2018, Immigrant Entrepreneurship. 25 May 2018 <http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=232>

Slip decorated earthenware shop sign made in Salem, North Carolina, by Gottfried Aust in 1773

  • Salem in Nord Carolina, 1787
  • Earthenware storage jar made in the Salem pottery, ca. 1790-1810
  • Earthenware dish excavated at the Salem, North Carolina, pottery site, ca. 1775
  • Tin-glazed bottle fragment excavated at the Salem pottery site, ca. 1793

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