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Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

This section will offer discussions on the subject of the various genre and forms of italian ceramics that some collectors specialize in

Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

Postby wdel » March 10th, 2010, 1:42 pm

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The word Certosa can be translated as "Charterhouse". The use of the term Certosa is specific to the monasteries of the Carthusian order of monks established by Saint Bruno in 1084 in the Chartreuse Mountains of the French Alps. In Italy there were a number of Carthusian monasteries established in various areas of the country. The largest was built in Florence (Firenze). Others were located in Pavia, Naples (Certosa di San Martino) and Siena (Certosa di Maggiano).The Certosa di Firenze, officially known as Certosa di Galluzzo, was constructed in the mid 14th century. Although a small number of monks remains within its walls it is now a major tourist site and I am sure you will be able to find articles about its fascinating history on the internet. Most of the certosa are maintained by cultural institutions except for Certosa di Maggiano in Siena which is now a hotel.

The Carthusian monks, now a nearly forgotten order on the edge of extinction, are famous around the world for their liqueur known as "Chartreuse" created in the early 1700's. Its ingredients remain a secret to this day and are known only to two monks of the order. It is this liqueur, with slight regional differences in the ingredients of herbs, flowers and roots used by the Italian monks, that was sold in order to help keep the monasteries financially solvent. In the 19th century some of the monasteries branched out into the production of perfumes made from natural ingredients. As an outgrowth of this business venture each certosa opened a gift shop for tourists where additional items, candlesticks. plates and cups were sold. I have seen dozens of these items over the years, however, it is the bottles shaped like Pilgrim's flasks and decorated in the Renaissance style of Grottesche (Raffaellesco) that still garner the most attention. I have seen these items bearing the maker's marks of some of the most important pottery studios in Italy. These include Salvini, Cantagalli, Colonnata, Fantechi and Fanciullacci.

Ebay seems like a rather good place to discover examples of the Pilgrim Flasks. Prices seem to vary between $30 and $100 regardless of age or manufacturer. A shelf containing several examples of these containers is rather impressive and will certainly attract attention.

Walter Del Pellegrino

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Re: Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

Postby pothead » March 11th, 2010, 12:01 pm

The second piece of older maiolica that I ever bought was one of these flasks. I love them!
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Re: Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

Postby pothead » May 11th, 2010, 12:11 am

Here's a great vintage postcard from the Certosa di Firenze - be sure to scroll to the right -
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Re: Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

Postby wdel » May 11th, 2010, 4:40 pm

That is a fantastic discovery. I had no idea of the diversity of shapes and sizes of the bottles being offered at a single moment in time. Thanks for sharing this great image.

Walter
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Re: Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

Postby pothead » May 11th, 2010, 10:56 pm

You're quite welcome!
Sue
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Re: Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

Postby linda » May 12th, 2010, 1:24 am

Back in 1993 when I visited and stayed with relatives in Florence we visited Certosa. I wish I`d known about the flasks back then, they are incredibly beautiful.. I think I`ll try to find one or two for my own collection, they look stunning as a group.
By the way I tried one or two of the liqueurs while I was at the monastery, did`nt like them at all, yuk..:-)

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Re: Monastic Pilgrim's Flask - Certosa di Firenze

Postby pothead » May 13th, 2010, 12:11 am

you can almost always find them on ebay -
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