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Barber, Edwin Atlee, 1851-1916 / Tulip ware of the Pennsylvania-German potters : an historical sketch of the art of slip-decoration in the United States

Chapter II: The Pennsylvania-German dialect and literature,   pp. [17]-28

Page 28

rhymes, quotations from the Bible and lines from old German
hymns, which had ornamented the coarse pottery of their
ancestors. By means of these ceramic inscriptions and their
accompanying decorative devices, many of which have sur-
vived, we may trace the successive stages in the evolution of
the artistic instinct and the gradual improvements in the
surroundings of the people, in their household decoration and
their floriculture. Through a study of these tracings and
etchings on the old pie plates and dishes we learn much of
their customs, of the various animals which they raised, of the
flowers which they cultivated and the costumes which were in
vogue a century and a half ago. In their inscriptions we can
read the homely philosophy of the people and gain some
knowledge of their mental traits, and in them we can trace
the gradual changes which have taken place in the language
since they left the country of their forefathers. It is by means
of this ceramic literature that we are enabled to obtain
glimpses of many interesting facts in the lives of this people
that have not been recorded elsewhere.

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