Wine, Women, and Song

German Stoneware Pitcher with Hand-Drawn Sgrafitto Design by Elfriede Balzar-Kopp (LEO Design)

In Munich, Germany, on this day in 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (who would later became King Ludwig I of Bavaria) married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. In celebration of the event, the citizens of the city were invited to celebrate in the fields in front of the city’s gates.  And, thus, was born Oktoberfest—the world’s largest fair.

For over two hundred years, with the exception of a few occasions during war or economic catastrophe, Oktoberfest has been an annual celebration of food and drink, craft and merriment.  Each year, over 7 million litres of beer is served—and mountains of traditional Bavarian food—to the 6 million+ visitors to the 16 day fair.

After the royal wedding in 1810, the fields before Munich’s city gates were named “Theresienwiese” (Therese’s Meadow) after the Princess Bride.  They retain that name to this day.

The German stoneware pitcher, shown above, was made some 150 years after the royal wedding.  Though Modernist, it reflects a bit of the utilitarian aesthetic of many a preceding "bierkrug" (beer jug).  Given the popularity of beer jugs throughout German history, it was not uncommon for modern ceramicists to include jug-forms within their offerings of vases, pots and bowls.  This example was made by Elfriede Balzar-Kopp in the 1960's.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.

Let’s raise a toast to Oktoberfest and the royal couple who started it all!


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