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I’ve been reading Wellen, a novel by Eduard Keyserling and I’ve come across the rare word Grützespann. The context is:

Als die Sonne rot durch die Birkenstämme schien, schlugen sie den Heimweg ein. Sie begegneten Arbeitern vom Felde zurückkehrend, Männer in weißen Leinwandhosen, hinter ihnen her die Frauen mit dem Grützespann in der Hand.

What kind of an object is it?

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The only things I found are here (p. 271) and here (p. 94/88). According to these documents a "Grützspann" is either some kind of "Suppenschüssel" (tureen, bowl) or a larger container (like a bucket) for "Saure Grütze" (some sort of red fruit jelly).

I think the different spelling ("Grützspann" vs. "Grützespann") is just artistic freedom. I admit that I never heard the word before (and Google didn't either (almost)), but it would fit.

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    Good find! Just a minor correction: "Grütze" was not what we know today as "rote Grütze" (sweet fruit jelly) - But rather any mash made from various grains, sweet or salty, like porridge (groats). – tofro Aug 8 '16 at 19:58
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The Brockhaus from 1894 supplies this information:

Grütze, grobgemahlenes von den Hülsen befreites Getreide […] Russische oder braune Grütze, die zuerst in einer eisernen Pfanne trocken geröstet und dann im Wasser ausgequollen ist, gibt man in Russland zu der Nationalkohlsuppe.

So, as tofro points out, Grütze also means coarsely ground grain, as can be seen by the word Hafergrütze. The second part describing a recipe from Russia, where Grütze is roasted in an iron pan to be added to cabbage soup, would suggest, that your word is composite of Grütze and Pfanne (engl. pan, also pronounced Pann in some German regions). The geographical context seems appropriate, since Keyserling came from Latvia bordering to Russia.

Update: Unfortunately the larger context, which I added to the question, is inappropriate for mentioning kitchen equipment.

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    And to come full circle: "spañnis" appears to be Latvian for "bucket", at least in the Stende dialect, of which @Perl Dog's first source appears to be a glossary. The plot thickens, along with the Grütze. – Mac Aug 9 '16 at 10:34
  • Die Frauen (pl) would rather share the handle of a (one) bucket than the handle of a pan, the latter clearly singular in the text.. As a sidemark "spann" in Swedish is an alternative word for "bucket" in southern parts of the country. Seems to be a common germanic word which could have been loaned in to the Latvian – Beta Aug 10 '16 at 6:20
  • @Beta Bucket is not convincing either, if nutrition is contained, which is not consumed in amounts justifying a bucket, is perishable and unlikely to have been prepared outdoors to be carried home. I'm no longer sure, that Grütze means grinded grain here. – guidot Aug 10 '16 at 7:10
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    After thinking a while: this could be a container for the food the workers brought out on the field. The women then of course had to bring the empty buckets home again in teh evening after the day's work. – Beta Aug 10 '16 at 8:36
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    @Beta That's exactly what I thought after seeing the longer quotation. And then it could have very well been filled with ground grain. (it's ground, not grinded or am I wrong?) – PerlDuck Aug 10 '16 at 9:26

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