Tin glazed earthenware accouchement bowl and platter, decorated with scenes of childbirth, from Urbino, Italian, 16th century
Scenes of childbirth and nursing newborns were common on Renaissance Italian ceramics. This tin glazed earthenware set is from Urbino in Italy. It is called an ‘accouchement’ (meaning childbirth) set. The shallow bowl is illustrated with two women washing a baby while another carries a bowl to a bed-ridden female, presumably the mother. The platter shows a mother with a swaddled baby. On the reverse of both pieces is a cherub surrounded by clouds.
Accouchement sets served foods to pregnant women during their pregnancy or after childbirth. These sets consisted of several items that would fit together when not in use. Birthing scenes eased the fears of expectant mothers by depicting positive birthing images.