Steinernes Bilderbuch: Album pictures for wine
Highlights of wine culture: Saale-Unstrut
It was very fashionable during Rococo period: the written or painted album picture that was dedicated to wine or hunting. There is such an album in a very unusual shape near Naumburg, in Blütengrund belonging to Großjena. You can see twelve more than larger-than-life picture reliefs in a big sandstone terraced wall in a vineyard.
The Steinernes Bilderbuch is one of the most unusual monuments for wine and the biggest picture relief in Europe which was made into an existing stone wall.
Jeweller Johann Christian Steinauer was the originator, He became rich as a court supplier of Christian II, Duke of Saxon Weißenfels from 1705 onwards. So Steinauer decided to buy a vineyard around 1720. He got the idea to make the relief out of the stone of his vineyard on the occasion of the 10 year throne anniversary to honour the Duke. The sculptor is unknown, but his work is a masterpiece:
On a length of 150 metres there are twelve scenes, ten of them show stories from the bible – the other two a fox-hunting and the portrait of the Duke as a rider.
Six of the pictures deal with wine stories from the bible. The inebriation of Lot by his daughters is portrayed, Noah as the first wine-grower, Jesus Christ in the winepress, Joshua and Kaleb coming back with a heavy grape as well as the parable of the workers in God´s vineyard. Picture five shows the wedding in Kanaa where Jesus is turning water into wine – including the inscription: ´God always turns water into wine/blessed be the grape/damned should be the man mixing it/who is not searching for refreshment!´
A spectacular discovery was made in the foundation of the Steinauer Villa above the vineyard in the year 1913: Four bottles of wine from the years 1678, 1680 and 1687 (2 bottles) were found. You can see the bottle from the year 1678 as the oldest filled German wine bottle in the wine museum Speyer. One bottle from 1687 was used for a tasting in Berlin, the one from 1680 for a tasting in Naumburg/Saale. The former owner Meder kept the last bottle – but it got lost. The ´Naumburg Bottle´ from 1680 can be seen in the Stadtmuseum Naumburg/Saale.